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

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Ruling in San Francisco, Judge James Donato said the claim meets class-action status, and allowed the class to include Facebook users in IL whose facial recognition algorithms were stored after June 7, 2011.

The plaintiffs say Facebook's creation and storing of face templates for automatic photo-tagging purposes is prohibited under BIPA.

Facebook's misuse of their users' biometric information could potentially amount to billions of dollars in damages after a federal judge greenlighted an IL class action suit against the firm's facial recognition feature.

Beyond saying that Facebook gave users no notice, the suit also charges that Facebook did not give those on its platform any information about how long the data would be held, also required by the BIPA.

In its blogpost, the company said it believes that "once a story is rated as false, we have been able to reduce its distribution by 80 per cent, and thereby, improve accuracy of information on Facebook and reduce misinformation".

At the heart of the issue is a 2008 state regulation known as the Biometric Information Privacy Act, which prohibits the collection or use of biometric data without precise public disclosure.

Facebook appears to believe the case's statutory damages could amount to "billions of dollars", he noted in his ruling.

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A class action is clearly superior to individual proceedings here.

The decision comes days after Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg faced intensive questioning by U.S. lawmakers over the company's collection and use of user data.

What does the facial recognition do? "If a face signature falls within the boundary describes by a user's face template, Facebook suggests tagging the user", it said. The software analyzes and detects faces in uploaded photos.

Schroepfer said most of the affected users are in the USA, and added: "We will also tell people if their information may have been improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica".

"If you've never been tagged in a photo on Facebook or have untagged yourself in all photos of you on Facebook, then we do not have this summary information for you".

The feature in question was rolled out in June 2011 as "tag suggestions'".