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Toronto-based Merchant Law Group has launched litigation seeking class action status against the social-networking site Facebook, stating that there was mishandling of sensitive user data.

CNET reports that the suit alleges Facebook changed user privacy settings and its terms of service without adequate consent of the users, which rendered information public when it had been protected before.
Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes said "We see no merit in this suit, and we will fight it vigorously."

The suit also alleges that Facebook "intentionally or negligently designs its privacy policies, as disseminated to users in such fashion as to mislead and induce users into putting their personal information and privacy at further risk." It also states that these policies mean that user data can be unwittingly exposed to the harms of data mining, identity theft, harassment, and embarrassment, and that Facebook has unjustly profited off this member information, says CNET.

Facebook, which has profiles for more than 40 percent of the Canadian population, has been under scrutiny in the past by Canada, according to statistics in the court complaint. CNET reports that when Facebook made public many of the controversial revisions to its privacy policy this spring, a coalition of U.S. senators took notice and announced its opposition.

Merchant Law Group has a history of targeting corporation in litigation, such as chocolate companies and silicon breast implant manufactures, states CNET.


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