Facebook Inc (FB) Sued For Building Facial Recognition Database


Facebook is being sued for putting together one of the world’s biggest facial recognition databanks, which was generated as a result of the face-tagging feature provided by the company. Such a practice is illegal and directly contravenes with the privacy of consumers, as reported by Courthouse News.

Facebook Inc (FB) Sued For Building Facial Recognition Database

Breaching users’ privacy

According to the case, the facial recognition program run by Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) interferes with the users’ privacy policy and violates the Illinois Biometrics Information Privacy Act, under which it is essential for companies aiming to accumulate data to acquir written consent from their customers. In addition, the law indicates that the company is obligated to specify the intent and duration of its data collection scheme.

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But Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) failed to do any of this when it launched its biometric facial recognition plan, claimed Carlo Licata, a lead representative of the class-action lawsuit. The lead plaintiff also criticized Facebook for data mining and deemed its actions as a “brazen disregard for its users’ privacy rights.”

Also the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) considers such methods unfair and requires private firms to serve clear notice to users on how the technology works, what data is being collected, and for what purpose. The agency also requires firms to obtain approval from subjects before using their biometric data.

Facebook to defend itself “vigorously”

The social networking company initiated the tagging feature through Israeli firm Face.com, which it took over in 2012. The facial recognition technique functions by first scanning for Facebook friends in a picture and then comparing the results obtained to the company’s “faceprint templates.” Licata claims that Facebook does not reveal data collection schemes in its privacy policies.

Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)’s facial recognition feature has been under attack since its inception in 2012. In a Senate hearing about the issue in the same year, the company’s Robert Shermann suggested that the “face-tagging” feature is just for convenience and that users’ data is secure in the company’s hands.

According to The New York Times, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) scrapped the facial recognition feature in Europe due to privacy concerns. Commenting on the lawsuit, Facebook told the Chicago Tribune on April 1 that the lawsuit is “without merit” and it will “defend [itself] vigorously.” Also the company informed users that they can opt out of the feature, and their data will be scrapped.

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