Published: Tue, April 17, 2018
Economy | By Shawn Conner

Facebook facing class action suit over facial recognition tech

Facebook facing class action suit over facial recognition tech

"As more people become aware of the scope of Facebook's data collection and as consequences begin to attach to that data collection, whether economic or regulatory, Facebook will have to take a long look at its privacy practices and make changes consistent with user expectations and regulatory requirements", Shawn Williams, the plaintiffs' attorney, told Bloomberg.

The study found 17% said they deleted the Facebook app from their phones, 11% said they deleted it from other devices, and another 9% said they deleted their accounts completely due to concerns regarding privacy. The law, known as the Biometric Information Privacy Act, also says that information that uniquely identifies an individual is, in essence, their property. The lawsuit has three plaintiffs, but a class-action status could potentially include millions of IL users.

In a successful class action suit, any person in that group could be entitled to compensation. The judge said the potential damages could amount to billions of dollars.

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The decision comes days after Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg faced intensive questioning by U.S. lawmakers over the company's collection and use of user data.

What does the facial recognition do? This is the date that Facebook launched the Tag Suggestions feature.

The feature suggests who might be present in uploaded photos, based on an existing database of faces.

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If users click "Manage Data Settings", they're shown an additional prompt given more detail about the tech's benefits, mainly stopping impersonators and helping blind people to understand what's depicted in photos.

Now, millions of Facebook users in the state of IL can seek up to $5,000 for each time the company's "Tag Suggestions" feature was used to mark them in a photo without their explicit consent.

In its blogpost, the company said it believes that "once a story is rated as false, we have been able to reduce its distribution by 80 per cent, and thereby, improve accuracy of information on Facebook and reduce misinformation".

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