Published: Tue, April 17, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

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

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

The decision by a U.S. district judge means the company could be sued by millions of USA users.

US District Judge James Donato ruled that Facebook can be sued by three IL users who claim the firm gathered biometric data through facial recognition without their explicit consent.

Facebook has issued a statement saying it continues to believe the case has no merit, and that it will continue to fight it "vigorously". The lawsuit was originally filed back in 2015 by users in IL, accusing the social network of violating a law in the state that prohibits the collection of biometric info.

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A USA federal judge in California ruled that Facebook will have to face a class action suit over allegations it violated users' privacy by using a facial recognition tool on their photos without their explicit consent. The judge said the potential damages could amount to billions of dollars.

The technology at the heart of all this is Facebook's "tag suggestion" feature, which suggests who may be in a photo based on an existing database of faces. The case goes back to 2015, and under the Illinois Act, Facebook can be fined $1,000 to $5,000 each time a person's image is used without permission.

"When you visit a site or app that uses our services, we receive information even if you're logged out or don't have a Facebook account", product management director David Baser said in a post on the social network's blog. "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 company says.

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The facial recognition feature isn't now available in the UK.

Besides the house members, the Information and Communication Ministry also has called on Facebook to submit its auditing report on the data leak scandal.

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