Economy

Facebook must face class-action lawsuit over facial recognition

Facebook must face class-action lawsuit over facial recognition

The move comes in response to users criticizing Facebook for its handling of user data and protecting privacy.

Tinder and OkCupid already allow new users to register with a phone number, but still, the majority of users register with a Facebook account, which helps verify that users are who they say they are.

US District Judge James Donato ruled Monday in San Francisco federal court that the lawsuit could progress with class action certification, finding the process will provide the most efficient resolution of the dispute over creating and storing of "face templates" based on facial features in uploaded photos.

Not very long after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg faced Congress regarding Facebook's poor handling of users' data as a result of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the company has now been accused of illicitly obtaining users' biometric information through the use of facial recognition technology. But despite Facebook's success in getting the case moved from IL to San Francisco, the judge ruled that "plaintiffs' claims are sufficiently cohesive to allow for a fair and efficient resolution on a class basis".

More news: Healthcare Stock in the Spotlight: Anthem, Inc. (ANTM)

Facebook said the case had no merit and it would fight it vigorously.

The three users have sued under an IL state law called the Biometric Information Privacy Act, which affords certain people protections over information such as fingerprints, retina scans, and facial recognition data. In his order, Donato wrote: "Facebook seems to believe. statutory damages could amount to billions of dollars". If the suit is successful, every person in the class-action could receive a payout. He said the servers' geographic locations aren't "a dispositive factor" in the case. It is now unavailable in the United Kingdom, but has been a feature in the USA since 2011. Facebook has also noted that users can opt out of the feature.

This is not the first time Facebook has been under fire for their facial recognition technology.


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