Facebook to Face Angry Illinoisans Over Facial Recognition Tech


Ruling in San Francisco, Judge James Donato said the claim meets class-action status, and allowed the class to include Facebook users in IL whose facial recognition algorithms were stored after June 7, 2011.

As part of initial legal procedure, the class of people filing this lawsuit has been legally defined as Facebook users "in IL for whom Facebook created and stored a face template after June 7, 2011".

A federal judge allowed a class-action lawsuit against Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) to proceed Monday, according to a Reuters report.

It involves the "tag suggestions" technology, which spots users' friends in uploaded photos.

In June 2011, Facebook introduced a feature in certain countries - the United States being one of them - giving users the ability to automatically tag people in their photographs.

The plaintiffs, a group of Facebook users in IL, say Facebook collects and stores the biometric data of users as a part of a "face template" without prior notice or consent. In order to do this, Facebook would have to collect users' biometric data to ensure their facial recognition tech would work, triggering privacy concerns.

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The lawsuit could clear the way for millions of the site's users to sue the company for using their image without permission. Facebook, however, "continue [s] to believe the case has no merit and" vows to "defend [itself] vigorously".

Facebook is believed to have a collection of face data far greater than law enforcement authorities, and some have anxious about it potentially being used to identify people in public spaces such as at protests.

The law in question is called the Biometric Information Privacy Act, which offers users protection over security methods used by websites, including iris scan, fingerprint, voiceprint, or scans of hands.

BOOM will review English language news stories flagged on Facebook, check facts, and rate their accuracy, it said.

Cambridge University researcher Jennifer Cobbe pointed out Monday that Facebook users in Europe are confronted with a page asking for consent for facial recognition, but that the first page has no option for "no" and it is only possible to deny access by navigating through a series of settings menus.