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Dublin woman who lost her account in hacking brought High Court proceedings against Facebook

DUBLIN: A Dublin woman who lost her account in a hacker attack took a complaint against Facebook to the High Court. The matter came to court after Sylvia O’Mahoney’s Facebook friends received messages from her account that she did not send.

Sylvia O’Mahoney said she found out her account had been hacked in mid-December, when her social media contacts began to receive messages from her account that she did not send. Following the complaint, Facebook acknowledged that her account had been hacked and said that it had acted quickly to restore full control to her and that all updates on the hacking investigation would also be provided to her. Yet no action has been taken, and that is why Ms. O’Mahoney from Brighton Place, Foxrock, Co Dublin, filed a lawsuit against Facebook Ireland Limited.

Ms. O’Mahoney has been using Facebook for years. When she learned that messages had been sent from her account unknowingly, she tried to change the account password, but could not. Moreover, she could not even access his account. Her profile name was also changed to a ‘Luo Yihan’ instead of Sylvia O’Mahoney.

Ms. O’Mahoney was concerned about the nature of some of content of the messages. She told the court that her friends had received several messages from the account, including an invitation to like the business page of a decking company.

Concerns about anonymous access to his personal information, including photos and personal messages, were first reported through Facebook’s automated complaint system. She followed the instructions at least twice, including uploading the picture ID. But she said only Chinese-language reply messages were returned, saying the issue had been resolved. Subsequently, she claimed in court that her constitutional right to privacy and the GDPR rights had been violated.

Ms. O’Mahoney want to prevent an anonymous Luo Yihan from using her account and find out about the information in the account that was accessed. She sought a court order to recover the data taken by the hacker from her account and ask Facebook to return it. She also demanded that she be given all the activity on her account from January 1 last year. Ms O’Mahoney’s counsel Jack Fitzgerald said the matter was becoming even more serious.

In the next few days, Facebook sent two letters to Ms O’Mahoney’s solicitors. It said the account had been hacked and that access to the account would be restored within two working days. The counsel said that she had an online meeting with Facebook representatives.

Counsel Rossa Fanning SC told the court that like all other internet and e-commerce companies, Facebook also has online security issues. However, he told the court that there was no evidence to blame Facebook for accounts being hacked.

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