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

Sheri Evans
April 17, 2018

The company now faces a class action lawsuit from Facebook users in IL, because gathering biometric information without the consent of users breaches IL law, the lawsuit alleges.

The new feature in the location-based app, which has 30 million-plus user base, would be launch on Tuesday, Wired reported late on Monday.

The lawsuit was originally filed in mid-2015 but has been repeatedly kicked down the road with Facebook attempting to have the case dismissed. The lawsuit was originally filed back in 2015 by users in IL, accusing the social network of violating a law in the state that prohibits the collection of biometric info. The court responded that users' privacy, not wallet or body, was harmed by Facebook's tactics. "That's because Facebook is not a social media company; it is the largest data mining operation in existence".

The Data Protection Commissioner Helen Dixon will also give evidence about her role in protecting citizens' personal information.

Facebook only uses its face-scanning tech in certain countries.

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"So how does Facebook know that a face in a photo belongs to someone who hasn't consented to facial recognition?"

Jennifer Lynch, senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, warned that if this facial recognition database had been shared with the US government, it could pose a significant threat to free speech.

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". You can't escape this by saying no. While you are in your general settings, you can even download a copy of what data Facebook has collected.

Facebook might think it's facing enough problems right now, but the company's about to run into another privacy-related headache. These changes included the opportunity to opt in to face recognition features that help people to manage their identity on Facebook. Facebook also doesn't allow accessing or collecting information via automated methods, such as harvesting bots or scrapers.

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