Facebook class action looms over facial recognition software

Facebook class action looms over facial recognition software

The facial recognition tool, launched in 2010, suggests names for people it identifies in photos uploaded by users - a function which the plaintiffs claim runs afoul of IL state law on protecting biometric privacy.

The ruling on Monday by a USA federal judge in California comes as the social network is snared in a scandal over the mishandling of 87 million users' data ahead of the 2016 U.S. presidential election. In ruling against Facebook, US District Judge James Donato certified a class of Facebook users "in IL for whom Facebook created and stored a face template after June 7, 2011".

In response, a Facebook spokeswoman said: "We are reviewing the ruling". Users sued in 2015 in a class-action lawsuit, which finally came into legal fruition earlier today, so to speak.

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.

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A California judge had ruled that giant tech company Facebook, must face a class action suit against the firm over the use of facial recognition technology, which alleges that Facebook collected biometric information without users' explicit consent. This argument hinges on an IL law called the Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA), which states a private entity can't store an individual's biometric information without written consent, nor profit from the data. If the suit is successful, every person in the class-action could receive a payout. "We continue to believe the case has no merit and will defend ourselves vigorously", the company said in a statement. It is now unavailable in the United Kingdom, but has been a feature in the USA since 2011.

Since its launch back in 2014, Bumble has relied on Facebook to make the registration and login easier and faster.

The company is now trying to roll out facial recognition technology inside the European Union again, according to the Irish Times, but on an opt-in basis.

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