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

Gladys Abbott
April 17, 2018

The judge also noted that there is enough evidence to suggest that Facebook violated the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA), enacted in 2008, which forbids companies from profiting from a person's biometric information. It's a hot-button issue, as sweeping new European Union privacy legislation requires Facebook and other tech companies to get explicit permission for using the technology.

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.

Jennifer Cobbe, a tech law researcher at the University of Cambridge, shared screenshots of the prompts on her Twitter page. The social network turned off facial recognition in Europe in 2012, the website says. The feature which is not available to users in most countries, can be turned off in settings for users in the United States. Only when they click "Continue" on that are they given a binary option: "Allow Facebook to recognise me in photos or videos" or "Don't allow Facebook to recognise me in photos and videos".

The lawsuit was originally filed in mid-2015 but has been repeatedly kicked down the road with Facebook attempting to have the case dismissed.

On May 25, GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) will come into effect. The idea was that it would make it easier for users to tag their friends in photos, although it seems that not everyone necessarily appreciates the convenience that the feature offers.

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This is not the first time Facebook has been under fire for their facial recognition technology. "By using facial recognition", she wrote.

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. You can't even escape this by not having Facebook.

The outcome of the case hinges on a law in IL called the Biometric Information Privacy Act that prevents private entities from storing a person's biometrics information without their explicit consent, says Alphr.

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

The new feature in the location-based app, which has 30 million-plus user base, would be launch on Tuesday, Wired reported late on Monday. "We also provided information about improved privacy controls and details about how our services work".

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