1. TechSpot is dedicated to computer enthusiasts and power users. Ask a question and give support. Join the community here.
    TechSpot is dedicated to computer enthusiasts and power users.
    Ask a question and give support.
    Join the community here, it only takes a minute.
    Dismiss Notice

US Appeals Court approves class-action against Facebook's facial recognition

By Cal Jeffrey ยท 5 replies
Aug 8, 2019
Post New Reply
  1. A federal appeals court ruled that a class-action lawsuit against Facebook over its facial recognition technology could proceed as planned. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco denied the social media's motion to have the class action broken up into individual lawsuits.

    The case was filed in 2015 and claims that Facebook collected the biometric data of users without their consent. Facebook argued that each plaintiffs' claim would be unique, so they should be required to file as individuals.

    The court disagreed unanimously ruling 3-0 "that the development of a face template using facial-recognition technology without consent (as alleged in this case) invades an individual's private affairs and concrete interests."

    "The facial-recognition technology at issue here can obtain information that is 'detailed, encyclopedic, and effortlessly compiled,' which would be almost impossible without such technology," wrote Judge Sandra Ikuta.

    "We have always disclosed our use of face recognition technology and that people can turn it on or off at any time."

    Collecting such information without consent violates the California Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA). It is alleged that a Facebook photo feature uses stored facial information to make tagging suggestions to users of friends that may appear in their uploaded photos.

    Penalties for BIPA violations range from $1,000 for each negligent breach to $5,000 for reckless or willful acts. Reuters notes, plaintiff attorney Shawn Williams indicated that the affected class might include as many as seven million users. If found guilty Facebook could face billions of dollars in damages.

    Facebook contends that it has done nothing wrong.

    "We have always disclosed our use of face recognition technology and that people can turn it on or off at any time," said a spokesperson for the company.

    Facebook's assurances rang hollow, however, thanks to its numerous and recent run-ins with user privacy issues. Despite that tagging suggestions seem to be a perfectly harmless application of the technology, organizations like the ACLU applauded the ruling.

    "The capability to instantaneously identify and track people based on their faces raises chilling potential for privacy violations at an unprecedented scale," said ACLU attorney Nathan Freed Wessler in a statement. "Both corporations and the government are now on notice that this technology poses unique risks to people's privacy and safety."

    Permalink to story.

     
  2. psycros

    psycros TS Evangelist Posts: 2,782   +2,604

    ""We have always disclosed our use of face recognition technology and that people can turn it on or off at any time," said a spokesperson for the company."

    There was no setting for that until about a year ago and it was well-hidden. The river of lies flows without end.
     
  3. Odium

    Odium TS Enthusiast Posts: 50   +23

    Happy to see even more of these news about Facebook being sued for what they do
     
  4. Skjorn

    Skjorn TS Maniac Posts: 373   +209

    It is called FACEbook..

    Now where's my dang money.
     
  5. Hardware Geek

    Hardware Geek TS Booster Posts: 98   +78

    Doesn't Facebook have a provision for this in their user agreement?
    Pretty sure this falls under the "We reserve the right to do whatever the heck we want." clause.
     
    Cal Jeffrey likes this.
  6. havok585

    havok585 TS Addict Posts: 205   +61

    A clause (a piece of paper that holds no ground in court) will still make you liable to get sued, no matter what an EULA says.
     

Add your comment to this article

You need to be a member to leave a comment. Join thousands of tech enthusiasts and participate.
TechSpot Account You may also...