Published: Tue, April 17, 2018
Finance | By Claude Patterson

Facebook facial recognition technology facing lawsuit in US

Facebook facial recognition technology facing lawsuit in US

On Monday, US District Judge James Donato ruled that the lawsuit can proceed as a class action, meaning any person in a defined group can be entitled to compensation. A company spokesperson said it is "reviewing the ruling", adding that "we continue to believe the case has no merit and will defend ourselves vigorously".

A federal judge on Monday said Facebook can face a potential multi-billion-dollar class-action lawsuit from a group of IL users, who say the company violated a state law that restricts facial recognition software.

The move comes in response to users criticizing Facebook for its handling of user data and protecting privacy.

The facial recognition tool, launched in 2010, suggests names for people it identifies in photos uploaded by users - a function which the plaintiffs claim runs afoul of IL state law on protecting biometric privacy.

Lawsuit accuses Facebook of violating a 2008 IL law that prohibits companies from collecting and storing the biometric data of people without their consent. This argument hinges on an IL law called the Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA), which states a private entity can't store an individual's biometric information without written consent, nor profit from the data.

In this case, that group has been defined as users "in IL for whom Facebook created and stored a face template after June 7, 2011", which has the potential to cover millions of individuals. The certification of a class of users is a key step in brining a class action.

On its help pages detailing how the technology works, Facebook says that users can control the feature from their settings and it does not take information from photos a user is not tagged in.

The facial recognition feature isn't now available in the UK.

One of the features that Facebook introduced to its platform several years ago was the ability to recognize faces in your photos.

Like this: