Facebook sued over privacy

Five users of Facebook are suing the social network for violating Californian privacy laws over the way it handles personal information.

In the complaint, the users noted that Facebook's licence agreement meant that users effectively owned all data uploaded up to the website, even if a user terminated the service.

However, the claimants alleged that Facebook ignored or failed to comply with their requests to stop posting private information such as photographs and images.

The complaint read: "As a consequence of Facebook allowing users to access, use and upload private and personal information on Facebook, users are effectively assigning valuable property and privacy rights to Facebook without consent, knowledge, understanding or consideration."

One claimant, an "accomplished" photographer, said that she had seen her digital images posted on Facebook without her consent or compensation.

She claimed she sought to protect her images and prevent them being downloaded through various effort on Facebook without success.

The complaint also said that she joined more than 150,000 Facebook users which wanted the website to change its terms and conditions.

The other plaintiffs were an 11 and 12 year old, an actress, and a college student who joined in 2005 as one of Facebook's earliest members.

The lawsuit comes as Canadian privacy watchdogs have asked Facebook to enhance its privacy measures, after the privacy commissioner's office published its concerns.

Facebook has not come back directly to IT PRO with comment, but the Wall Street Journal quoted spokesman Barry Schnitt as saying there was "no merit to this suit and we plan to fight it."

Back in July, Facebook announced it was trialling new privacy tools, while earlier in July concerns were raised over proposed changes to terms and conditions.