Facebook Could Face Billions in Fines over Facial Recognition Features

Facebook argues it should not be sued by a group but by individuals. AP

Facebook argues it should not be sued by a group but by individuals. AP

Facebook's misuse of their users' biometric information could potentially amount to billions of dollars in damages after a federal judge greenlighted an IL class action suit against the firm's facial recognition feature.

Facebook can probably recognize that its users' faces are angry. "We continue to believe the case has no merit and will defend ourselves vigorously", the spokersperson said. The company also tried and failed to claim that the data it collects isn't covered by BIPA, which restricts the collection of fingerprints, voice prints, and "hand or face geometry".

Although many individuals may not have had enough tagged photos to generate a face template in Facebook's database, in January 2011 (i.e., before Facebook implemented tag suggestions for all users) the average user was tagged in 53 photos, far more than the 10 needed to generate a face template.

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A California judge on Monday gave the green light to a three-year-old case claiming the social network violated IL law.

The class of people in question is made up of Facebook users "in IL for whom Facebook created and stored a face template after 7 June 2011", according to the court order.

Three Illinois Facebook users are arguing that Facebook has broken the state's Biometric Information Privacy Act, NPR reported.

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A federal judge ruled that consumers in IL could proceed with a class action lawsuit over the facial recognition technology that helps Facebook power its Tag Suggestions tool.

The European Union's digital chief is also slated to meet with the embattled CEO amid increasing criticisms from activists in Europe that the company is engaging in manipulative and deceitful conduct in order to impose facial surveillance on European users.

Also on Monday, Facebook confirmed that it collected information from people beyond their social network use. In March, news surfaced that Cambridge Analytica - a political data firm with ties to President Donald Trump's campaign - had accessed and improperly stored a huge trove of its user data.

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As the scandal unfolded, the Electronic Privacy Information Center said it would challenge Facebook's use of facial recognition with the Federal Trade Commission. The court responded that users' privacy, not wallet or body, was harmed by Facebook's tactics.

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