Yesterday, a court ruled that Power Ventures violated state and federal law by accessing Facebook “without permission”, spamming users, and circumventing technical measures that put in place by Facebook to stop their activity.
In the meantime, Power.com founder Steve(n) Vachani got back to our requests for comment with a response to Facebook’s win in court. Here it is, in full:
Today, Facebook has established a dangerous precedent for the future of users rights to own and control their data.
Power, together with unwavering support from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, has fought tirelessly over the users rights to truly own and control their data. This decision dangerously manipulates and broadens laws so that that millions of users who want to access their own data or tell their friends about new services could now face criminal liability.
With this decision, ironically Facebook could now face billions of dollars in damages and endless lawsuits and criminal damages over the tools it has provided hundreds of millions of its users tools to import their contacts and invite nearly 1 billion of their friends into Facebook.
Our commitment to fight for users rights to own and control their data will now only get stronger and we intend to aggressively continue this fight to ensure that Facebook will eventually be held responsible and accountable for the damages caused its systematic suppression of startup innovation that threatens its business interests and for its ongoing history of gross abuses against the rights of its own users.
Steven Vachani, CEO of Power
Please also refer to the Electronic Frontier Foundation comments on this issue.
On June 17th, the Electronic Frontier Foundation clearly articulated just how dangerous this decision could be to the future of the Internet
“Facebook wants to prevent users from choosing follow-on innovation that it doesn’t like, so it’s asking the court to broaden computer crime laws in ways that would let it manufacture and cherry-pick lawsuits against users and competitors,” said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Marcia Hofmann.
“Facebook’s position would create legal uncertainty for tech start-ups everywhere, stifling innovation and competition. No one would want to challenge a behemoth like Facebook with the specter of criminal charges looming over interoperability.”
Sounds like the legal battle is far from over after all.