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Facebook class action lawsuit over facial recognition OK'd by judge

17 April 2018

The lawsuit is being filed over an IL state law called the Biometric Information Privacy Act.

It involves the "tag suggestions" technology, which spots users' friends in uploaded photos. Users sued in 2015 in a class-action lawsuit, which finally came into legal fruition earlier today, so to speak.

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 decision by a U.S. district judge means the company could be sued by millions of USA users.

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Judge James Donato, a federal judge in San Francisco, dismissed Facebook's argument that the law didn't apply to it because its servers aren't located in the state.

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

The plaintiffs say Facebook's creation and storing of face templates for automatic photo-tagging purposes is prohibited under BIPA. She adds that managing what information can and cannot be used by Facebook is quite complicated saying, "Even if you understand the Facebook business model, you would be hard pushed to know how far your data goes".

"Facebook should suspend further deployment of facial recognition pending the outcome of the FTC investigation", EPIC President Marc Rotenberg said.

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As Techradar put into perspective, there are 36.38 million people who have deleted the mobile app and 19.26 million who have deleted their accounts out of the 214 million total Facebook users in the US. It's not alone - Google is facing a similar class action in Chicago centred on its Google Photos service.

Facebook issued a statement saying it continued to believe that the lawsuit has no merit.

The feature is not available to users in most countries, including the United Kingdom - and can be turned off in settings for USA users. However, for the moment, users should be aware that their words and face are owned by Facebook and whoever else they decide to share the data with.

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Facebook class action lawsuit over facial recognition OK'd by judge