Facebook Faces Class Action Lawsuit Challenging Its Use Of Facial Recognition Data

17 April, 2018, 18:47 | Author: Franklin Nunez
  • A slightly cropped and rotated screenshot of the tagging settings page on a Facebook profile

A California judge has ruled that a class-action lawsuit against Facebook's use of facial-recognition technology can go ahead - signaling further legal woes for the social network. Facebook successfully requested that the case be moved from IL to San Francisco and its defense appears to be that the IL law is all about the use of biometric data such as fingerprints, retina and iris scans, voice prints, and scans of peoples' hands and faces.

The class action will consist of users in IL "for whom Facebook created and stored a face template after June 7, 2011", he said. The law, known as the Biometric Information Privacy Act, also says that information that uniquely identifies an individual is, in essence, their property.

As Techradar put into perspective, there are 36.38 million people who have deleted the mobile app and 19.26 million who have deleted their accounts out of the 214 million total Facebook users in the US. Facebook, however, "continue [s] to believe the case has no merit and" vows to "defend [itself] vigorously". In ruling against Facebook, US District Judge James Donato certified a class of Facebook users "in IL for whom Facebook created and stored a face template after June 7, 2011". The judge said the potential damages could amount to billions of dollars.

United Kingdom backs USA military action on Syria
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The news comes as the social networking giant continues to face scrutiny over its data collection practices in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which has seen founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg face two days of questioning from United States politicians.

This is not the first time Facebook has been under fire for their facial recognition technology. In addition, Facebook says that users can opt out of the feature.

The feature suggests who might be present in uploaded photos, based on an existing database of faces.

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"If you've never been tagged in a photo on Facebook or have untagged yourself in all photos of you on Facebook, then we do not have this summary information for you", the help page says.

If users click "Manage Data Settings", they're shown an additional prompt given more detail about the tech's benefits, mainly stopping impersonators and helping blind people to understand what's depicted in photos.

According to the report, the information that was accessed by "Bumble" included a person's friends list, relationship status, current location and friends a user had in common with other Bumblers.

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