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Facebook facing class action suit over facial recognition tech

17 April, 2018, 18:45 | Author: Melinda Barton
  • Complying With New Privacy Laws and Offering New Privacy Protections to Everyone, No Matter Where You Live

A California judge has ruled that a class-action lawsuit against Facebook's use of facial-recognition technology can go ahead - signaling further legal woes for the social network.

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.

According to BBC News, the technology involves Facebook's "tag suggestions", which can identify a user's friends in an image. But despite Facebook's success in getting the case moved from IL to San Francisco, the judge ruled that "plaintiffs' claims are sufficiently cohesive to allow for a fair and efficient resolution on a class basis". A company spokesperson said it is "reviewing the ruling", adding that "we continue to believe the case has no merit and will defend ourselves vigorously". The judge said the potential damages could amount to billions of dollars.

"A class action is clearly superior to individual proceedings here". In June 2011, Facebook had more than 6m users in IL.

The news comes as the social networking giant continues to face scrutiny over its data collection practices in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which has seen founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg face two days of questioning from USA politicians.


He is also due to meet European Commission Vice President Andrus Ansip in San Francisco this week, reports Bloomberg.

One of the features that Facebook introduced to its platform several years ago was the ability to recognize faces in your photos.

The plaintiffs say Facebook's creation and storing of face templates for automatic photo-tagging purposes is prohibited under BIPA. "This unwanted, unnecessary, and unsafe identification of individuals undermines user privacy, ignores the explicit preferences of Facebook users, and is contrary to law in several state and many parts of the world", the complaint states.

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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