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Facebook charged over use of facial recognition

17 April 2018

Facebook violated an IL state law by improperly using their photo-scanning and facial recognition technologies and storing biometric data without their users' consent, a federal judge in California ruled on Monday, after reviewing a 2015 claim made against Facebook by three IL plaintiffs.

The ruling is the latest in a mounting number of privacy headaches suffered in recent weeks by the social-networking giant since it disclosed that Cambridge Analytica, a political consultancy affiliated with the Trump campaign, had improperly accessed the personal data of about 87 million Facebook users. It has pledged to fight the class action lawsuit "vigorously", the BBC reports.

Facebook created a template that automatically tags people when a photo is uploaded to the site.

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In the document, Facebook illustrates how it can crunch its user base of over 2 billion people and predicts millions of people who are "at risk" of jumping ship from one brand to a competitor.

The suit alleges that the company's facial recognition features violate an IL privacy act by storing biometric info without users' explicit consent.

This isn't the only current lawsuit against Facebook coming out of IL.

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US District Judge James Donato ruled that Facebook can be sued by three IL users who claim the firm gathered biometric data through facial recognition without their explicit consent.

The feature is not available to users in most countries, including the United Kingdom - and can be turned off in settings for US users.

Also on Monday, Facebook confirmed that it collected information from people beyond their social network use. The company says that its "face templates" are not related to the state's Biometric Information Privacy Act.

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The study found 17% said they deleted the Facebook app from their phones, 11% said they deleted it from other devices, and another 9% said they deleted their accounts completely due to concerns regarding privacy. However, for the moment, users should be aware that their words and face are owned by Facebook and whoever else they decide to share the data with.

Facebook charged over use of facial recognition