Lawsuit Claims Cookies Violate Federal Wiretap Law
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Facebook users beware, if you do not log out of the site and begin browsing on other websites, your friends will be able to see what you are reading, or watching for that matter. You will also be able to see what your friends are reading and watching if they never log out of Facebook as well. The reason for this is simple; browser cookies.

One of the most common questions out there today is whether or not browser tracking cookies violate federal wiretap laws. Logically, the answer to this question is usually no, but some courts will rule differently. The rulings all depend on how the case is presented, who the judge is, and if there are any precedents that can be related to the current case.


A lawsuit has been filed by someone who regularly uses Facebook while claiming a class of 150 million people in the suit. The damages will range from hundreds to thousands of dollars because the suit claims 150 million people. The lawsuit has been filed because the plaintiff claims that Facebook violated wiretap laws by recording the online browsing history of the plaintiff even when he was not logged into Facebook.

The lawsuit was filed in Kentucky and says that “Facebook puts tracking cookies on its users’ browsers that follow their Internet activity.”

What most internet users know and understand is that almost all websites keep a record of what you look at and what you purchase so they can suggest other items to you and place proper advertisements on the site while you browse. The question that comes into the picture now is whether or not this is an illegal practice.

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The plaintiff in the lawsuit is David Hoffman, and he is asking for a temporary and preliminary injunction that would restrain Facebook from recording internet information when users are not logged into the site. This goes along with the class action lawsuits he is also filing. In the lawsuit, the plaintiff has also asked for $100 per day per member of the class, which comes out to be a $10,000 fine per violation.

What could be a differentiating factor in this lawsuit is the fact that the plaintiff has alleged that the cookies were recorded while the browsers were offline, which means they were not logged into the site. In previous lawsuits, issues have been about simple online browsing of websites. This is where the plaintiff claims that Facebook has been violating the federal wiretap laws of the country.

One thing that internet browsers should know is that cookies, at least the ones in this lawsuit, cannot be detected by computer users. This makes things very scary when it comes to browsing the internet, no matter what website you are visiting.


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