Lawsuit against Facebook’s use of facial recognition given green light

The ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco has issued a decision allowing the continuation of a class-action lawsuit against Facebook’s use of facial recognition tools. The lawsuit was filed in 2015 by Ilinois Facebook users who argued that the company was illegally collecting and using biometric data of people to identify them in photographs. The federal court decided against Facebook’s request to halt the lawsuit. In its decision, the court noted that ‘the development of face template using facial-recognition technology without consent (as alleged here) invades an individual’s private affairs and concrete interests. Similar conduct is actionable at common law.’ The company announced plans to appeal the decision. As explained by Techcrunch, the case could result in a considerable financial penalty for Facebook. Privacy law violations in Illinois could be subject to damages between US$1000 and US$5000 in penalties and the case could involve around 7 million users.