Facebook to face United States class-action lawsuit over facial recognition photo tagging

Judge says class action suit against Facebook over facial recognition can go forward		
		
	Devin Coldewey

       @	   
   	10 hours

Judge says class action suit against Facebook over facial recognition can go forward Devin Coldewey @ 10 hours

On Monday, Judge Donato ruled to certify a class of Facebook users - a key legal hurdle for a class action suit.

Facebook says 87 million users may have been affected. "We continue to believe the case has no merit and will defend ourselves vigorously", the company said in a statement.

The biometric data was collected through the use of the tag suggestions technology that helps users spot their friends in uploaded photos.

The class consists of users in IL, for whom the site "created and stored a face template after June 7, 2011"-the date Facebook launched "Tag Suggestions".

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. While Donato downplayed the persuasiveness of the Six Flags decision, calling it "a now unpublished opinion by an intermediate court of appeals in IL", he posited that the IL court likely would have found actual harm in the Facebook case. 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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A federal judge has ruled that a class action lawsuit including millions of Facebook users can proceed with their claims that the social media firm violated an IL law relating to the collection and storage of biometric data without users consent, according to Bloomberg.

Facebook has said it will comply with law, called the General Data Protection Regulation, and apply it outside Europe, but the company has also faced criticism about whether it gives a real choice to users.

Testifying before the US Congress, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had said his organisation was committed to ensure integrity of elections across the world, including India.

This law protects people over information such as fingerprints, retina scans, and facial recognition.

"It really puts Facebook's business model into question, and people might feel differently about what they put online if they feel manipulated by the platform", said Jennifer Krueckeberg, lead researcher at privacy advocacy group Big Brother Watch.

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