Facebook Settles Facial Recognition Lawsuit

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Social networking giant pays out nearly half a billion dollars to settle long running biometric data lawsuit in the United States

Facebook has added to its expenses with the news that it has opted to settle a facial recognition lawsuit.

The social networking giant had been sued back in 2015 when Illinois users accused Facebook of violating that state’s Biometric Information Privacy Act in collecting biometric data.

The lawsuit began because of Facebook’s “Tag Suggestions” feature, which allowed users to recognize their Facebook friends from previously uploaded photos.

Facial recognition

Facebook had already suspended facial recognition for European users eight years ago after the practice was deemed illegal, because it stored biometric data without users’ explicit consent.

But it failed to disable for US users, and the lawsuit was filed in 2015 in Illinois.

That is because Illinois’ biometric privacy law provides for damages of $1,000 for each negligent violation and $5,000 for each intentional or reckless violation.

And that was bad news for Facebook, as it was reported that the class action lawsuit could include up to 7 million Facebook users.

In August last year, Facebook failed in its attempt to quash the class action lawsuit.

That ruling potentially exposed the social networking giant to hundreds of millions of dollars in potential damages to the Illinois users who brought the case.

Lawsuit settlement

And this is now the case after Reuters reported that Facebook had opted to settle case.

It reported that on Wednesday the social networking giant reached a $550 million settlement in principle.

In a statement, law firms Edelson, Robbins Geller and Labaton Sucharow reportedly said the plaintiffs will ask the district court to give preliminary approval for the settlement.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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