Facebook must face class action over face-tagging in photos: judge

Cambridge Analytica's Facebook App Collected Users' Direct Messages

Whoa! We almost went a full day without some negative news on Facebook breaking.

On Monday, US District Judge James Donato ruled to certify a class of Facebook users - a key legal hurdle for a class action suit.

Facebook must face a class action lawsuit over its use of facial recognition technology, a California judge has ruled.

In this case, that group has been defined as users "in IL for whom Facebook created and stored a face template after June 7, 2011", which has the potential to cover millions of individuals.

"When you visit a site or app that uses our services, we receive information even if you're logged out or don't have a Facebook account", product management director David Baser said in a post on the social network's blog. But according to the plaintiffs, this happens to violate the 2008 Illinois' Biometric Information Privacy Act, which prohibits companies like Facebook from collecting and storing the biometric data of consumers without their permission. The company also tried and failed to claim that the data it collects isn't covered by BIPA, which restricts the collection of fingerprints, voice prints, and "hand or face geometry".

More news: Teachers protest funding gap, some PERA changes at Capitol

Facebook might think it's facing enough problems right now, but the company's about to run into another privacy-related headache.

In June 2011, Facebook introduced a feature in certain countries - the USA being one of them - giving users the ability to automatically tag people in their photographs.

Facebook's motion to dismiss the lawsuit was rejected in May 2016. The company could end up writing a big check should it lose this case.

In response, a Facebook spokeswoman said: "We are reviewing the ruling".

"If you've never been tagged in a photo on Facebook or have untagged yourself in all photos of you on Facebook, then we do not have this summary information for you", the help page says.

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