INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES, October 14, 2022 /EINPresswire.com/ — In July, according to electronic records in a US court, Epoch Times sold user information to Facebook, including user account numbers (FIDs), names, emails, billing and contact information, user account information, IP addresses, payment cards, or online payment information. This allows Facebook to use this information to display targeted ads to users and pay Epoch Times for the associated fees. According to the online screenshot, the price of the private information of more than 100,000 users of the Epoch Times website on the Internet is $2 million, but Epoch Times did not tell the users of the website in this process.
Plaintiff Amy Roberts is an adult citizen of Ohio with a domicile in Franklin County, Ohio. She started subscribing to the digital edition of The Epoch Times in 2019 and has had a Facebook account from 2008 to the present. During the relevant period, she used her Epoch Times digital subscription to watch video media while logging into her Facebook account through the Epoch Times website and/or app. By doing so, the plaintiff’s personal browsing information was disclosed to Facebook in accordance with the systematic process described herein. However, Epoch Times never gave express consent in writing to the defendants to disclose their personal browsing information. Amy Roberts, therefore, filed a transfer against Greater Epoch Times, Inc. for violating the federal Video Privacy Protection Act (18 U.SC § 2710). Plaintiff’s claim stems from Defendant’s intentional disclosure to a third party, Meta Platforms, Inc. (“Facebook”), of personal browsing information containing its digital user personally identifiable information or Facebook ID, computer files containing videos, and their corresponding URL browsing data.
This is a consumer digital privacy class action lawsuit suing The Epoch Times, the owner of theepochtimes.com, for violating the Video Privacy Protection Act by disclosing the identities of its digital users and video media to Facebook without proper consent. In recent years, data security incidents have emerged one after another. According to related reports, Facebook and LinkedIn have both been exposed to data breaches. The personal data of 533 million Facebook users were leaked, including Facebook ID, full user name, location, birthday, profile, and email address. LinkedIn has about 740 million total users, and more than 500 million pieces of information were leaked, which means that the affected users account for about two-thirds of the total number of users. In addition, U.S. respiratory care machine provider SuperCare Health disclosed a data breach that affected more than 300,000 people. This incident resulted in disclosing patient/member and other personal information of the partner organization.
It is generally believed that an extensive database of private information, even just a profile such as a user’s name, is sufficient for cybercriminals to launch an offensive and cause severe damage with just an email address. It is reported that these personal data can help identify and establish connections with other social media profiles of users. Attackers can combine the information in the leaked files with other leaked data to compile detailed information about potential victims. Armed with this information, attackers can launch targeted phishing attacks, send spam messages to the email addresses and phone numbers of users who have leaked information, and even conduct brute account force and identity theft against people whose data has been leaked on hacker forums. From this, it can be seen that the information revealed by Epoch Times to Facebook not only damages the legitimate rights and interests of users but also exposes users to potential threats. Once hackers obtain the data from Facebook, these users will be subject to more serious losses.
In response to the data breach, Epoch Times chose to disregard the legally protected privacy rights of the plaintiffs and hundreds of thousands of other Epoch Times digital users by revealing their sensitive data to Facebook. Accordingly, Amy Roberts chose to file this class action to seek a legal and equitable remedy to correct and stop the defendant from knowingly disclosing his personal browsing information practices of digital users to Facebook. Pursuant to relevant regulations, Epoch Times is also liable for reasonable attorneys’ fees and other litigation costs, injunctive and declaratory relief, and punitive damages, in amounts determined by a jury but sufficient to prevent the defendant from engaging in the same or similar conduct in the future.