Facebook's left hand is fighting for Americans' right to privacy

The right hand? Go on, guess

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Facebook's lawyers are racking up the billable hours in the US, with the company winning a lawsuit about tracking and privacy, but still doing battle against the American government over protecting users from government warrants.

In a privacy and wiretapping lawsuit, Northern California District Judge Edward Davila decided that although Facebook does indulge in tracking people on non-Facebook sites, the plaintiffs' case failed.

The world at large has known about Facebook's tracking habits ever since Nic Cubrilovic started watching how the company uses cookies.

Judge Davila agreed that when other sites host the "Like" button, it gives Facebook a chance to plant a tracking cookie. However, he found the plaintiffs failed to prove that they'd suffered any "realistic" harm or loss, and furthermore, they didn't prove they had a reasonable expectation of privacy while browsing the Internet.

That spiked the accusation that Facebook was violating US wiretap laws, but the judge said the litigants can still pursue a breach-of-contract case if they wish.

In the other ongoing case in the District of Columbia, Facebook is trying to overturn a US gag order that stops it telling users it's been served with warrants relating to their accounts.

According to Reuters, warrants have been issued relating to three users.

As well as claiming First Amendment protection, Facebook says the users can only get the chance to challenge the warrants if they know they exist.

Reuters says Facebook's court documents also state that the matters of interest to the government are already "generally known to the public," adding that "the timing of proceedings coincides with charges against people who protested President Donald Trump's inauguration in January."

Its appeal against the gag order is scheduled for hearing in September. ®


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