Santa Clara, CA: A privacy class action lawsuit has been filed against Facebook and several high profile cancer institutes, alleging FB mined private health data from websites of the cancer institutes to generate advertising campaigns.
The cancer institutes named as co-defendants in the proposed class action are: the American Cancer Society Inc., American Society of Clinical Oncology Inc., Melanoma Research Foundation, Adventist Health System, BJC Healthcare, the Cleveland Clinic, and the University of Texas-MD Anderson Cancer Center.
Filed by Winston Smith, a registered Facebook user and Missouri resident, the 88-page complaint claims the medical institutes' websites include a secret "Facebook code"that allow users' data to be transmitted to Facebook, which then creates targeted advertising campaigns.
"Without the knowledge, consent, or any action of the user, the entire process happens in milliseconds,"the complaint states.
According to Smith, he searched for lung cancer information on the American Cancer Society' website, Cancer.org. The information he sought and any links he clicked then were sent to Facebook without his knowledge and without his consent.
In the complaint, Smith asserts that users of such websites "trust"that their personal details of their cancer-related searches and browsing with not be shared with third-parties. The complaint also notes that Facebook, itself, does not disclose in its data and privacy policies that it tracks and collects such "sensitive information."
Smith is being represented by Beverly Hills class action firm Kiesel Law LLP, among others. The lawsuit was filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of California.