Published: Tue, April 17, 2018
Markets | By Josh Butler

Facebook to face class action lawsuit over its facial recognition technology

Facebook to face class action lawsuit over its facial recognition technology

Federal judge James Donato, based in San Francisco, ruled Monday that a class action lawsuit would be the best way to deal with the issue, though participants are limited to those who lived in IL and were the subjects of a Facebook "face template".

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.

Beyond saying that Facebook gave users no notice, the suit also charges that Facebook did not give those on its platform any information about how long the data would be held, also required by the BIPA.

That is the date when Facebook launched "Tag Suggestions", a feature that suggests people to tag after a Facebook user uploads a photo.

Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook faces a class action suit in California over facial recognition. Donato in February rejected Facebook's bid to dismiss the suit, finding BIPA left "little question that the IL legislature codified a right of privacy in personal biometric information".

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A spokesperson, however, told Reuters that "We continue to believe the case has no merit and will defend ourselves vigorously".

Facebook had admitted that almost 5.62 lakh people in India were "potentially affected" by the incident.

Facing global heat over the dissemination of fake news, social networking giant Facebook has partnered fact-check portal Boom for a pilot in Karnataka, which goes to polls in May.

The company also filed a patent in 2014 for technology that lets it provide certain types of content to users based off of reading their emotions with a camera in their computer or phone.

The decision comes at a time when Facebook is embroiled in a scandal after reports that British data firm Cambridge Analytica had improperly gathered detailed Facebook information on 87 million users, up from a previous estimate of more than 50 million. Facebook argued that the lawsuit should be pursued by individuals and not as a class-action as "damages could amount to billions of dollars", the company also argued that each user could be "aggrieved" differently and should be forced to prove that they were negatively affected by Facebook's collection of the data. The court responded that users' privacy, not wallet or body, was harmed by Facebook's tactics.

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