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Facebook and Cancer Institutes Face Privacy Class Action Lawsuit

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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.

"Despite Cancer.org' Privacy Policy, the Plaintiff' communications to and from Cancer.org were contemporaneously re-directed to, tracked, intercepted, and acquired by Facebook through the process described above,"Smith alleges. "Upon these and other communications, Plaintiff' cancer-related communications were disclosed to, tracked, and intercepted by Facebook through cookies and other identifiers."

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.

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Reader Comments

Posted by

on
I have received emails in my personal email address from individuals that I am only associated with through Facebook. I opened one and a virus was placed on my computer when I opened it. These people DO NOT know my personal email address which is not the current email address that I use with my current ACTIVE Facebook account. This email address was used when I initially opened the account but I changed it some time later on. Again...these people are ONLY affiliated with me through FACEBOOK and do not know my email address. I posted a message warning friends and family. I also receive unsolicited sexually contained content messages from people from Facebook that I DON'T even know.

Posted by

on
After opening a Facebook account, I immediately noticed an increase in unwanted emails. I believe that Facebook sold or gave my information to advertisers.
These unwanted emails caused me to suffer anxieties about opening emails from unknown senders. These emails also taxed my computer's capacity and caused me to buy unneeded software and other computer "solutions" that could not phase the problems caused by Facebook.

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