(FreedomBeacon.com)- A UK technology consultant has sued Meta in the High Court in London over Facebook’s refusal to permit users to opt out of user profiling data the platform supplies to advertisers.
Tanya O’Carroll, an independent consultant on technology and human rights, hopes her legal challenge could lead to a landmark change to the rights of social media users.
She told BBC Radio’s “Today” program that her case is about users being able to access social media without simply accepting that they will be “subjected to hugely invasive tracking surveillance profiling.”
O’Carroll explained that after becoming a mother, she was bombarded with Facebook ads for baby products. She said she attempted to change her Facebook settings to turn the ads off, but nothing changed.
She said the social media platform assigned over 700 characteristics to her profile based on the content she viewed, and some of those characteristics are considered sensitive and protected and were not things about her that an advertiser should see.
O’Carroll told the BBC that everything plays out on Facebook — politics, public debate, connecting with family and friends, and accessing news and information. And the platform makes it a condition for “accessing that global public square” that users get subjected to surveillance.
She said her lawsuit is using the rights that have “long been there on the law books” but haven’t been exercised, namely, being able to “simply say ‘I object.’” She said if her suit is successful, “everyone will have that right.”
O’Carroll is suing based on the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation, legislation that grants individuals the right to object to their personal data being used for direct marketing.
Meta has said it is changing its data collection software to exclude protected characteristics. It also argued that the General Data Protection Regulation does not apply to social media and Facebook users agree to have their data used when they accept Facebook’s terms and conditions.