Facebook Sued for Gathering World’s Biggest Stock of facial-recognition data

Facebook is back in the news, this time again for violating its users’ privacy by gathering a huge mass of facial data.

A class-action lawsuit has been filed against the social media giant last week and it is claimed that the Facebook’s data-collection program titled automatic face-tagging feature has helped Facebook create “the largest privately held stash of biometric face-recognition data in the world.”

It is also claimed by the accusers that this facial-recognition program from Facebook violates its users’ privacy and therefore, violates an Illinois law dubbed as the Illinois Biometrics Information Privacy Acts. The acts require companies to receive written consent from every user the biometric data of whom is being collected, according to CourtHouse News.

Furthermore, the statute states that the firm needs to explain the reason and duration of its data-collection program.

Carlo Licata, the lead plaintiff, claims that the social media website’s biometric program displays “brazen disregard for its users’ privacy writes.” Moreover, if the user changes settings even then the biometric data collection will not be halted, as reported by the Chicago Tribune reports.

The feature from Facebook has received immense criticism over this feature. The tagging service was introduced utilizing the technological expertise of Face.com, an Israeli firm that was acquired by Facebook in 2012.

In 2012, a hearing was held by Senate to discuss this program and Robert Sherman from Facebook rebutted that the “tag suggestions” feature is just added to ensure convenience and also, the data from users is “secure.”

Sherman added that the company’s Faceprint database is compatible with its own software only and without it the templates are nothing else but “useless bits of data.” He also informed that users can easily disable this feature after which their data will get deleted.

Read Robert Sherman’s testimony below: 

The New York Times earlier reported that in Europe, the facial-recognition feature was stopped by Facebook in 2012 due to growing privacy concerns from the users.

According to a spokesperson from Facebook, “This lawsuit is without merit and we will defend ourselves vigorously.”

Licata intends to receive a court injunction forcing Facebook to completely halt this program.

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