Facebook sued for amassing users facial recognition data

Facebook faces class action law suit for violating the privacy of its users by collecting their facial data and storing it

It looks like Facebook is in the headlines for all the wrong reasons throughout the week. Earlier a US court order Facebook and its owner, Mark Zuckerberg to handover all relevant data and correspondence to a absconder, Paul Ceglia who claims to own half of Facebook for $1,000  he lent in startup money to Mark Zuckerberg.

Now Facebook is being accused of violating the privacy of its users by collecting their facial data, according to a class-action lawsuit filed last week. Facebook has been allegedly collecting facial recognition data from millions of FB users and creating “the largest privately held stash of biometric face-recognition data in the world,” according to Courthouse News Service.

The class action lawsuit filed by Carlo Licata and associates alleges that this facial recognition program violates the privacy of its users. The plaintiffs have cited an Illinois law called the Illinois Biometrics Information Privacy Acts, which requires companies to get written content from a user if it is collecting biometric data. Further, according to the Illinois law, such company must state the purpose and length of its data collection program.

The plaintiffs claims that Facebook’s biometric program shows “brazen disregard for its users’ privacy writes.” They have also argued that even by changing user settings, the FB users can escape the facial recognition collection program, reports the Chicago Tribune.

Facebook first started using tagging service through the facial recognition technology after the technology from Israeli company Face.com, which Facebook then acquired in 2012.

Courthouse News Service writes:

The company’s faceprint database works only with its own software, and “alone, the templates are useless bits of data,” Sherman said. He said that users can opt out of the feature and their data will be deleted.

In 2012, Facebook stopped offering the facial recognition feature in Europe due to privacy concerns, according to the New York Times.

When asked to comment on the lawsuit Facebook told the Chicago Tribune that the lawsuit is “without merit,” while the complainant, Licata hopes to get an injunction from the court to halt Facebook’s facial recognition collection program.


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