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

Facebook fuels broad privacy debate by tracking non-users

Lawsuit alleges Facebook gathered unauthorized biometric data

Nimesh Patel started his suit against Facebook back in 2015 for violations of the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act, which protected citizens data by requiring informed consent to gather biometric information, including about their faces. It's a hot-button issue, as sweeping new European Union privacy legislation requires Facebook and other tech companies to get explicit permission for using the technology.

Not everyone who's had their photos uploaded on the website can be part of the complaint, but the class-action could still have millions of people in the plaintiff's camp.

Jennifer Cobbe, a tech law researcher at the University of Cambridge, shared screenshots of the prompts on her Twitter page.

Users from the state of IL filed the suit claiming the technology - which is not available in the United Kingdom - breaches state laws on biometric data privacy.

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

Folks can, of course, turn off the service via Facebook's privacy settings.

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On May 25, GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) will come into effect.

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

The plaintiffs say Facebook's creation and storing of face templates for automatic photo-tagging purposes is prohibited under BIPA. "By using facial recognition", she wrote.

As part of initial legal procedure, the class of people filing this lawsuit has been legally defined as Facebook users "in IL for whom Facebook created and stored a face template after June 7, 2011". You can't escape this by saying no. "Facebook will still scan your face".

Should Facebook lose the case, any member of the group could be entitled to compensation.

Facebook can probably recognize that its users' faces are angry. A spokeswomen for the firm sent out an email that read, "We continue to believe the case has no merit and will defend ourselves vigorously". This, it added, improves the accuracy of information on Facebook and reduce misinformation.

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