Lawsuits filed against Facebook for violating federal law

Facebook is being sued by an increasing number of users over allegations that the world's largest social network is in violation of federal wiretapping laws within the United States. The allegations, as reported on ZDNet, suggest that Facebook uses cookies to track users even after they have logged out of the service. Lawsuits have been filed in the American states of Kansas, Mississippi, Kentucky, and Louisiana. The Mississippi lawsuit, which seeks class action lawsuit status, was filed last week by Brooke Rutledge, on behalf of millions of Facebook users. The lawsuit alleges that Facebook has breached its contract with users, trespassing, invasion of privacy, and unjust enrichment.

Former Louisiana Attorney General Richard Ieyoub has also filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Facebook user Janet Seamon. The allegations within the lawsuit were almost identical to those of the lawsuit made in Mississippi. Ieyoub's lawsuit seeks statutory damages, and also unspecified punitive damages. The statutory damages are $100 per day that a class action user's information was wrongfully gained.

Meanwhile, in Kansas, John Graham filed a federal lawsuit. Graham has asked that the federal court decides whether the interception was intentional, and whether the Palo Alto-based social network should be able to continue with the current alleged practices. Graham's lawsuit also seeks $100 per day, or $10,000 per violation of a user's rights. Punitive damages and attorney costs are also requested in his lawsuit, should it be taken onwards to a court.

In Kentucky, David Hoffman has also sent a federal lawsuit against Facebook. He requests that Facebook is unable to access information without users logging in and also that the company cannot disclose any of the already-acquired information to a third party. Again, Hoffman requests the same fees in damages as both Louisiana resident Richard Ieyoub, and Kansas-resident John Graham.

The impact of the lawsuits could be potentially massive, should they be proven correct. Of course, assuming that Facebook is able to avoid any major damages coming from the lawsuits targeted at it, the social network would likely be able to avoid major press condemnation.

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