Facebook charged over use of facial recognition

17 April, 2018, 18:50 | Author: Gladys Mathis
  • Facebook could have to pay 'billions' in damages in class action lawsuit over facial recognition

Facebook must face a class action lawsuit over its use of facial recognition technology. The lawsuit has three plaintiffs, but a class-action status could potentially include millions of IL users. Illinois' Biometric Information Privacy Act made it illegal to collect and store faceprints without obtaining informed written consent.

Facebook's facial recognition technology, which it uses to recognise users in photos and identify impersonators, has not been available in the European Union since 2012 after being accused of violating privacy laws for not obtaining users' consent.

The coalition also claims Facebook's policy violates the 2011 Consent Order with the Commission, calling the scanning of faces without "unlawful". The feature which is not available to users in most countries, can be turned off in settings for users in the United States.

If the lawsuit goes ahead, every member of the IL group could be entitled to compensation, potentially costing Facebook billions of dollars.

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Boom, an independent digital journalism initiative certified through the International Fact-Checking Network, will review English language news stories flagged on Facebook, check facts, and rate their accuracy.

The decision comes at a time when Facebook is embroiled in a scandal after reports that British data firm Cambridge Analytica had improperly gathered detailed Facebook information on 87 million users, up from a previous estimate of more than 50 million. The Electronic Privacy Information Center has called on the FTC to investigate Facebook's facial recognition practices since 2011. 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.

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