Facebook's facial recognition tool faces class action suit over mishandling biometric data

1 in 10 Americans say they have deleted their Facebook accounts – study

A federal judge on Monday said Facebook must face a potentially multi-billion dollar class-action lawsuit from a group of IL users who say the company violated a state law that restricts facial recognition software. Now, the same judge who denied the tech giant's 2016 motion to dismiss has given the go-ahead to proceed with a class action lawsuit.

The lawsuit, which was first filed in 2015, says Facebook broke the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act of 2008, which says a company must obtain written permission before scanning and storing one's biometrics, including the type of face-scanning technology Facebook uses to tag users in photos.

Facebook is being criticised by privacy activists for how it's allegedly manipulating some of its Eureopean users to consent to its use of facial recognition in photos and videos.

Facebook has used facial recognition technology on photos posted to the site since 2010 to automatically detect and put names to faces.

However in his order, US District Judge James Donato wrote: "Facebook seems to believe... statutory damages could amount to billions of dollars".

Facebook got the case moved from IL to San Francisco, where Judge James Donato affirmed that a class-action lawsuit was the best path to a solution in this regard.

The outcome of the case hinges on a law in IL called the Biometric Information Privacy Act that prevents private entities from storing a person's biometrics information without their explicit consent, says Alphr.

The decision comes days after Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg faced intensive questioning by USA lawmakers over the company's collection and use of user data. These changes included the opportunity to opt in to face recognition features that help people to manage their identity on Facebook.

Carolina Milanesi, the author of the study, found that when asked on how Facebook can regain user trust, rather than getting more tools and settings, a lot of the users are asking for the company's transparency.

In December 2017 Facebook announced that users would be notified if a picture of them was uploaded by someone else, even if they hadn't been tagged in it.

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