Advertisement

Judge says class action suit against Facebook over facial recognition can go forward

Judge says class action suit against Facebook over facial recognition can go forward
From TechCrunch - April 16, 2018

Whenever a company may be guilty of something, from petty neglect to grand deception, theres usually a class action lawsuit filed. But until a judge rules that lawsuit legitimate, the threat remains fairly empty. Unfortunately for Facebook,one major suit from 2015 has just been given that critical go-ahead.

The case concerns an Illinois law that prohibits collection of biometric information, including facial recognition data, in the way that Facebook has done for years as part of its photo-tagging systems.

BIPA, the Illinois law, is a real thorn in Facebooks side. The company has not only been pushing to have the case dismissed, but it has been working to have the whole law changed by supporting an amendment that would defang itbut more on that another time.

(Update: Although Facebooks own Manger of State Policy Daniel Sachs co-chairs a deregulatory tech council in the Illinois Chamber of Commerce that proposed the amendment, the company maintains that We have not taken any position on the proposed legislation in Illinois, nor have we suggested language or spoken to any legislators about it. You may decide for yourself the merit of that claim.)

Judge James Donato in Californias Northern District has made no determination as to the merits of the case itself; first, it must be shown that there is a class of affected people with a complaint that is supported by the facts.

For now, he has found (you can read the order here) that plaintiffs claims are sufficiently cohesive to allow for a fair and efficient resolution on a class basis. The class itself will consist of Facebook users located in Illinois for whom Facebook created and stored a face template after June 7, 2011.

An earlier, broader class suggested by the plaintiffs included all Illinois users who appeared in a photograph on Facebook, but the judge, commendably, decided that this would include people who appeared in images but were not in fact recognized or recorded as face templates by the recognition systems. The more limited class will still amount to millions of people.

Advertisement

Continue reading at TechCrunch »