Facebook to face $35 billion class-action lawsuit over misuse of facial recognition data

tech2 News Staff

For allegedly misusing users' facial recognition data in Illinois, the US court has reportedly said that Facebook will have to face a class-action suit, which could cost it up to $35 billion.

Facebook has been trying to avoid the lawsuit for a few years now. The lawsuit began in 2015 when Illinois users accused Facebook of violating that state's Biometric Information Privacy Act in collecting biometric data.

The US court, however, has denied Facebook's request for an en banc hearing before the full slate of ninth circuit judges that could have halted the case. Now the case will go to trial unless the Supreme Court intercedes, reports TechCrunch.

Facebook allegedly accomplished the said misuse of facial recognition data through its 'Tag Suggestions' feature, which allowed users to recognise their Facebook friends from previously uploaded photos. The suit alleges that Illinois citizens didn't consent to having their uploaded photos scanned with facial recognition and weren't informed of how long the data would be saved when the mapping started in 2011.

According to the report, Facebook could face $1,000 to $5,000 in penalties per user for 7 million people, which could sum to a maximum of $35 billion.

In September this year, Facebook announced that it was discontinuing the 'Tag Suggestion' feature.

A three-judge panel of ninth circuit judges rejected Facebook's motion to dismiss the case and its appeal of the class certification of the plaintiffs back in August.

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