Social media giant Facebook has reportedly reached a $550 million settlement over a lawsuit that claimed the company illegally collected and stored biometric data for millions of users via facial recognition technology without their consent.
Reuters reports that tech giant Facebook said this week that it had reached a $550 million settlement related to a lawsuit that claimed that the firm illegally collected and stored biometric data for millions of users without their consent.
The lawsuit began in 2015 when Facebook users from Illinois alleged that the site violated the state’s Biometric Information Privacy Act by using facial recognition software to analyze users’ photos. The lawsuit specifically related to Facebook’s “Tag Suggestions” feature which allowed users to recognize their Facebook friends from uploaded photos.
Breitbart News reported on the lawsuit in 2017 writing:
“Facebook is the largest social network in the United States and likely the world. Facebook has previously been alleged to abuse consumers’ privacy rights,” claimed the class-action complaint against Facebook. “Plaintiff brings this class action to put an end to Facebook’s latest privacy abuse – its collection, storage, and subsequent use of its users’ biometric identifiers and biometric information without informed consent, in direct contravention of the BIPA.”
“In direct violation of all three prongs of §15(b) of the BIPA [Biometric Information Privacy Act], Facebook is actively collecting, storing, and using the biometric information of its reportedly more than one billion users without any written notice or informed written consent, including millions of Illinois residents,” continued the document. “Specifically, sometime in late 2010, Facebook began implementing its ‘tag suggestion’ feature (‘Tag Suggestions’), which utilizes sophisticated facial recognition software to automatically match pictures with names.”
Law firms Edelson, Robbins Geller, and Labaton Sucharow said in a statement that the plaintiffs will be asking the district court to give preliminary approval for the settlement.