Facebook facial recognition technology facing lawsuit in US

Suspended Cambridge Analytica CEO Nix cancels UK parliamentary appearance

A Facebook spokesperson said the company is "reviewing the ruling" and continues to believe "the case has no merit".

A California judge had ruled that giant tech company Facebook, must face a class action suit against the firm over the use of facial recognition technology, which alleges that Facebook collected biometric information without users' explicit consent.

The decision comes days after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg faced intensive questioning by United States lawmakers over the company's collection and use of user data.

The lawsuit, which was first filed in 2015, says Facebook broke the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act of 2008, which says a company must obtain written permission before scanning and storing one's biometrics, including the type of face-scanning technology Facebook uses to tag users in photos.

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.


Facebook got the case moved from IL to San Francisco, where Judge James Donato affirmed that a class-action lawsuit was the best path to a solution in this regard.

The three users have sued under an IL state law called the Biometric Information Privacy Act, which affords certain people protections over information such as fingerprints, retina scans, and facial recognition data.

They are referring to Facebook's "tag suggestions" feature, which uses facial recognition to suggest which friends to tag in a photo. The certification of a class of users is a key step in brining a class action. It is now unavailable in the United Kingdom, but has been a feature in the USA since 2011. That is the date when Facebook launched "Tag Suggestions".

The company is now trying to roll out facial recognition technology inside the European Union again, according to the Irish Times, but on an opt-in basis.

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