Facebook faces Class Action suit over facial recognition on photos

Facebook faces Class Action suit over facial recognition on photos
Whoa! We nearly went a full day without some negative news on Facebook breaking. As it turns out, in San Francisco federal court today, U.S. District Judge James Donato certified a class action suit against Facebook. This allows for the consolidation of several suits against the company, all with the same allegations, down to one. In this case, the plaintiffs are claiming that the social network illegally used a facial recognition system on photos without users' permission.

Facebook is creating and storing "face templates" based on facial characteristics found in photos. It has been doing this since 2010 so that it can automatically put a name to the face seen in a photograph. 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.

Facebook successfully requested that the case be moved from Illinois to San Francisco and its defense appears to be that the Illinois law is all about the use of biometric data such as fingerprints, retina and iris scans, voice prints, and scans of peoples' hands and faces. The company says that its "face templates" are not related to the state's Biometric Information Privacy Act. In addition, Facebook says that users can opt out of the feature.

The case goes back to 2015, and under the Illinois Act, Facebook can be fined $1,000 to $5,000 each time a person's image is used without permission. The company could end up writing a big check should it lose this case.


Facebook says that it is reviewing Monday's ruling that certifies the class action. A spokeswomen for the firm sent out an email that read, "We continue to believe the case has no merit and will defend ourselves vigorously."

source: Bloomberg

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15 Comments

1. RevolutionA

Posts: 398; Member since: Sep 30, 2017

We need to force ban the Facebook completely like ZTE, Huawei etc.,

8. Nine1Sickness

Posts: 896; Member since: Jan 30, 2011

FB users gave up their right when they mindlessly posted their pictures onto facebook.

2. Klinton

Posts: 1409; Member since: Oct 24, 2016

Facebook must be banned or punished hard because of the political bias to one party. Google also must be punished hard for the same reason. Tweeter too

3. L0n3n1nja

Posts: 1576; Member since: Jul 12, 2016

I hope they don't see a penny, Facebook has operated within the law as far as I'm able to tell, it's not their fault no one reads the terms and conditions. I mean whats next? File lawsuits against all internet service providers and phone service providers. Verizon knows where you go, who you call, who you text, what websites you visit, etc. Do something to change the laws, don't punish corporations for playing ball by the corrupt rules put in place by congress.

5. TechnoTechyes

Posts: 71; Member since: Jan 24, 2011

YOU'RE WRONG I'm not a user of Facebook (for real). But from what I understand they use facial recognition on images that contain pictures of me. So, if only users can control their data, what are my rights? What about all the little children they do this to as well? Show me a 4 year old that can read the Facebook terms of service.

6. mootu

Posts: 1527; Member since: Mar 16, 2017

If a friend of yours puts a picture of a group of people that includes you then it's your friends problem not Facebooks. You don't own the data your friend does and they have openly signed over the right for Facebook to use the data. And here comes the "it's for the children" defence. If any idiot is allowing a 4 year old to use Facebook, well they deserve everything they get. That is just fu*"ing stupidity in itself.

7. mixedfish

Posts: 1560; Member since: Nov 17, 2013

Most of these dumb-arses wouldn't even bat an eye lid to these issues unless told by obvious tabloid media. Mob mentality really, it's sad.

9. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

It's not that Facebook has a picture that includes me that is the problem. It's that they use facial recognition that is the problem and no one but the person that is recognized can give consent. No other person can do that.

10. cmdacos

Posts: 4260; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

Many companies, airports etc use facial recognition all the time. You must be doing a lot of consenting before entering in any of these.

11. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

Airports are still bound by law when it comes to how long this information is stored. Also, facial scanning at airports is when you travel and you are aware when airlines scan your face. So if you don't want to be scanned, you can choose not to travel. Facebook scanning my face, there is no choice.

4. gamehead unregistered

I hope FB loses billions

15. worldpeace

Posts: 3135; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

They already lose billions from their market cap

12. SIGPRO

Posts: 2817; Member since: Oct 03, 2012

Punish Zuckyberg, some jail time and a huge find would be good! Or FB should be decommissioned, but the harm is already done Zuckyberg is rich.

13. aksa123

Posts: 367; Member since: Jan 30, 2014

TBH the privacy problem is not much of an issue compared to benefits FB offers.

14. Crispin_Gatieza

Posts: 3147; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

You're right. Stalkers and perverts would be devastated if the plaintiffs win this action. Are you for real?

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