Judge Dismisses Lawsuit over Google Photos Facial Recognition

The Associated Press
Ng Han Guan/AP
LUCAS NOLAN

A Chicago judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought against tech giant Google over its use of facial recognition technology.

Engadget reports that a Chicago judge has granted Google’s request to dismiss a lawsuit brought against the company over their use of facial recognition technology. The company was accused of violating Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act by gathering biometric data from users photos without their express permission.

The judge dismissed the lawsuit ruling that the plaintiffs were unable to demonstrate “concrete injuries” from the facial recognition software used to collect biometric data by Google. The suit was filed in March 2016 with the plaintiffs seeking $5 million to compensate state residents, with $5,000 each for purposeful violation of the Biometric Information Privacy Act and another $1,000 for unintentional violation.

The Biometric Information Privacy Act requires consent from individuals in order to collect personal identifiers, but it was not apparent that the information was personally identifying according to the judge. The facial recognition system was used in Google Photos to identify individual people and pets in users’ photographs, it can only associate names with photos of people when labeled by a user specifically.

In April, Breitbart News reported that a federal judge ruled that a class action lawsuit including millions of Facebook users can proceed with their claims that the social media firm violated Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act. Millions of social media users could potentially sue Facebook for violations of the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act of 2008 (BIPA) which holds a fine of $1,000 to $5,000 each time a user’s photo is used without permission. This could result in Facebook paying out billions of dollars.

Facebook has regularly encouraged users to tag themselves, friends and family members in uploaded photos and has then stored this information, the social media company then uses a program called DeepFace to match this with other photos of the tagged person. The case was initially meant to be heard in July but has since been pushed back.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or email him at lnolan@breitbart.com

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