Facebook must face class action over face-tagging in photos: jude

Sean Reid
April 17, 2018

A judge in San Francisco has ruled that class-action lawsuit against tech-giant Facebook can proceed in the USA state of IL in response to allegations that the site has been using facial recognition technology to identify users online without their knowledge or consent. There is a chance Facebook could owe millions of people as the case includes users in the state who the social network created and stored facial recognition algorithms for after June 7, 2011, when the "tag suggestions" tool launched.

Judge James Donato found Monday that plaintiffs' complaints are "sufficiently cohesive" for the case to proceed as a class action lawsuit. However, the lawsuit is based on the earlier collection of user data. But according to the plaintiffs, this happens to violate the 2008 Illinois' Biometric Information Privacy Act, which prohibits companies like Facebook from collecting and storing the biometric data of consumers without their permission. "While not trivial, BIPA's statutory damages are not enough to incentivize individual plaintiffs given the high costs of pursuing discovery on Facebook's software and code base and Facebook's willingness to litigate the case.Facebook seems to believe that a class action is not superior because statutory damages could amount to billions of dollars", Donato wrote.

In a successful class action suit, any person in that group could be entitled to compensation.

"We continue to believe the case has no merit and will defend ourselves vigorously", the spokesperson said.

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

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

Facebook tried to dismiss this lawsuit as well, arguing that users who sued "know nearly nothing" about the platform's facial recognition tech.

"If you've never been tagged in a photo on Facebook or have untagged yourself in all photos of you on Facebook, then we do not have this summary information for you". It is now unavailable in the United Kingdom, but has been a feature in the USA since 2011.

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