Louisiana Woman Sues Facebook Over Wiretap Claims

October 14, 2011

A Louisiana woman is suing Facebook over allegations that the social networking site collects and stores users’ Internet browsing history without their permission.

Former Louisiana Attorney General Richard Ieyoub filed the federal class-action lawsuit Monday on behalf of Janet Seamon, a Facebook user from East Baton Rouge Parish.

The suit claims Facebook violates wiretap laws with a tracking cookie that records users’ online activity even when they aren’t logged into Facebook.

Similar suits have been filed in other states, including Kansas and California.

Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes says the company believes the suit is “without merit” and will “fight it vigorously.”

In an earlier statement on the issue, Facebook said it places cookies on users’ computers “like every site on the internet that personalizes content and tries to provide a secure experience.”

“Three of these cookies on some users’ computers inadvertently included unique identifiers when the user had logged out of Facebook,” the company said. “However, we did not store these identifiers for logged out users. Therefore, we could not have used this information for tracking or any other purpose.”

Ieyoub, who joined a Baton Rouge law firm last year, is asking a judge to certify the suit as a class action.

The suit seeks unspecified punitive damages and statutory damages of $100 for each day that each class members’ data was “wrongfully obtained” or $10,000 for each alleged violation.

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