Lawsuit alleges Facebook gathered unauthorized biometric data

Galtero Lara
Abril 17, 2018

The decision by a USA district judge means the company could be sued by millions of US users.

Face signatures are then run through a stored database of user face templatesto look for similar matchesOn its help pages, Facebook says the face templates are made from information about the similarities in every photo the user has been tagged in.

A federal judge allowed a class-action lawsuit against Facebook proceed Monday, according to a Reuters report.

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.

Other organizations participating in the complaint against Facebook include The Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood, The Center for Digital Democracy, The Constitutional Alliance, Consumer Action, The Consumer Federation of America, Consumer Watchdog, The Cyber Privacy Project, Defending Rights & Dissent, The Government Accountability Project, The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, Patient Privacy Rights, The Southern Poverty Law Center, and The U.S. Public Interest Research Group.

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Facebook's misuse of their users' biometric information could potentially amount to billions of dollars in damages after a federal judge greenlighted an IL class action suit against the firm's facial recognition feature.

Facebook's arguments that no "actual" harm was caused and that the Act can't apply because its servers aren't in IL failed to convince Donato.

In his order, Judge Donato wrote: "Facebook seems to believe... statutory damages could amount to billions of dollars". It is now unavailable in the United Kingdom, but has been a feature in the USA since 2011.

June 2011 was the date on which Facebook rolled out its "tag suggestions" feature.

This is not the first time Facebook has been under fire for their facial recognition technology.

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