Facebook to face class action lawsuit under Illinois state law

A ruling by a U.S Federal judge has paved the way for a potential class action lawsuit against Facebook for its unlawful usage of the facial recognition process it uses on photos without getting prior user permission.

In a blow to social media giant Facebook Inc, a U.S. federal judge has ruled that it must face a class action lawsuit which alleged that world’s biggest social networking firm had unlawfully used a facial recognition process on photos without getting prior user permission.

The ruling adds to the pile of privacy woes facing Facebook and comes in the wake of th scandal wherein personal information of millions of Facebook users was harvested by Cambridge Analytica, a UK-based political consultancy firm.

U.S. District Judge James Donato ruled in San Francisco federal court that a class action was the most efficient way to resolve the dispute over facial templates.

Facebook said it was reviewing the ruling.

“We continue to believe the case has no merit and will defend ourselves vigorously,” said Facebook in a statement.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs could not immediately be reached for comment.

In 2015, Facebook users had sued the company alleging violations of an Illinois state law in reference to the privacy of biometric information.

Donato’s ruling states, the class will consist of Facebook users in Illinois for whom Facebook created and stored facial recognition algorithms after June 7, 2011 – the date when Facebook launched the “Tag Suggestions” feature which asks users to tag people in the photos after a Facebook user uploads a photo.

In the U.S. court system, certification of a class is typically a major hurdle that plaintiffs in proposed class actions need to overcome before reaching a possible settlement or trial.

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