Facebook must face class action over facial recognition - USA judge

Rodiano Bonacci
Aprile 17, 2018

US District Judge James Donato ruled Monday in San Francisco federal court that the lawsuit could progress with class action certification, finding the process will provide the most efficient resolution of the dispute over creating and storing of "face templates" based on facial features in uploaded photos. This allows for the consolidation of several suits against the company, all with the same allegations, down to one.

Facebook must face a class action lawsuit that alleges that the social network unlawfully used a facial recognition process on photos without user permission, a U.S. federal judge ruled on Monday.

Facebook has used facial recognition technology on photos posted to the site since 2010 to automatically detect and put names to faces. 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 ruling came after Facebook users sued the firm in 2015, alleging violations of an IL state law about the privacy of biometric information. The law, known as the Biometric Information Privacy Act, also says that information that uniquely identifies an individual is, in essence, their property. The company could end up writing a big check should it lose this case.

Facebook said it is reviewing the ruling. A spokeswomen for the firm sent out an email that read, "We continue to believe the case has no merit and will defend ourselves vigorously".

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