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

JD Lasica  Flickr

The plaintiffs say Facebook's creation and storing of face templates for automatic photo-tagging purposes is prohibited under BIPA. Now, US District Judge James Donato has ruled that it can proceed with class-action status.

Facebook said it was reviewing the ruling. 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.

The lawsuit, filed by Illinois residents Nimesh Patel, Adam Pezen, and Carlo Licata, alleges that Facebook's face recognition tagging tool - a feature that suggests people to tag after a user uploads a photo - is in violation of Illinois' Biometric Information Privacy Act.

The ruling on Monday by a United States federal judge in California comes as the social network is snared in a scandal over the mishandling of 87 million users' data ahead of the 2016 USA presidential election.

A California judge on Monday gave the green light to a three-year-old case claiming the social network violated IL law.

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Also on Monday, Facebook confirmed that it collected information from people beyond their social network use.

In the worst data leak in company history, Facebook initially reported that 50 million of its users' private information was used without consent by United Kingdom -based Cambridge Analytica for critical political voting in that country and the U.S.

Facebook sources said last week CEO Mark Zuckerberg could testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on April 10.

This law protects people over information such as fingerprints, retina scans, and facial recognition. Facebook argued that the lawsuit should be pursued by individuals and not as a class-action as "damages could amount to billions of dollars", the company also argued that each user could be "aggrieved" differently and should be forced to prove that they were negatively affected by Facebook's collection of the data.

Cambridge University researcher Jennifer Cobbe pointed out Monday that Facebook users in Europe are confronted with a page asking for consent for facial recognition, but that the first page has no option for "no" and it is only possible to deny access by navigating through a series of settings menus.

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