BRUSSELS - An Austrian law student cannot bring a class action suit against Facebook’s Irish unit over alleged privacy violations in an Austrian court, an EU court adviser said yesterday, but can sue the company in his home country. 

Arguing that Facebook violated privacy rules, Max Schrems is claiming R8 446 in damages for each of some 25 000 signatories to his lawsuit, one of a series of European challenges to US technology firms and their handling of personal data.

“A consumer who is entitled to sue his foreign contact partner in his own place of domicile, cannot invoke, at the same time as his own claims, claims on the same subject assigned by other consumers,” the EU top court’s Advocate-General Michal Bobek said. Such a suit would lead consumers to choose the place with the most favourable court.