Court Rejects Facebook’s Facial Recognition Appeal

A federal appeals court rejected Facebook’s appeal regarding a class action lawsuit regarding their use and storage of biometric data. The plaintiffs claim that Facebook did not alert users that they were using facial recognition, although Facebook claimed the opposite, according to an article from Reuters. The 9th United States Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco voted to reject Facebook’s appeal three to zero. If Facebook loses the class action lawsuit, they could be fined billions in damages to the Illinois users that initially started the case in 2015.

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The plaintiffs claim that Facebook violated their state’s Biometric Information Privacy Act by collecting biometrics, used in the Facebook “Tag Suggestions” feature. Judge Sandra Ikuta or the appeals court said that the law was intended to protect “concrete interests in [individual] privacy” while Facebook’s allegedly unauthorized usage of biometrics invaded. Shawn Williams, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said,

“This biometric data is so sensitive that if it is compromised, there is simply no recourse. It’s not like a Social Security card or credit card number where you can change the number. You can’t change your face.”

Facebook Facial Recognition Case
Facebook Facial Recognition Case

Facebook Exposed User Data

The biometrics class action lawsuit is not the first time that Facebook has been accused of violating users’ privacy. Last year, Facebook was chastised for selling user data to Cambridge Analytica, a company that Donald Trump used in his 2016 presidential campaign. Later in the year, it was revealed that Facebook exposed the data of about three million users. Data from myPersonality, a Facebook app that asks users intimate questions for psychological tests, was exposed online for years, according to New Scientist. Given Facebook’s recent privacy scandals, it is unclear how their more recent projects, such as their voice assistant, will be received by the public.

Aliza Vigderman

Aliza Vigderman

Aliza is a journalist living in Brooklyn, New York. Throughout her career, her work has spanned many intersections within the tech industry. At SquareFoot, a New York-based real estate technology company, she wrote about the ways in which technology has changed the real estate industry, as well as the challenges that business owners face when they want to invest in property. At Degreed.com, an education technology website, Aliza created digital content for lifelong learners, exploring the ways in which technology has democratized education. Additionally, she has written articles for The Huffington Post as well as her own content on Medium, the online publishing platform. Aliza’s love of journalism and research stems from the excellent Journalism program at Brandeis University. At Brandeis, Aliza interned as a research assistant at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism, a non-profit “news room without walls”. There, Aliza was paired with an investigative journalist and used academic databases to obtain data on everything from the suicide rates in Bhutan to local Boston court cases. Her last position was as an account executive at Yelp, educating business owners on the power of technology to increase revenue. Throughout, however, her heart remained with tech journalism, and she’s thrilled to be writing for Security Baron. When she’s not keeping afloat of the latest tech trends, Aliza likes to cook, read, and write. A former high school “Class Clown,” Aliza has completed two feature-length screenplays, a pilot, and countless comedic sketches. On her days off you can find her relaxing in Prospect Park, trying the latest flavors at Ample Hills Ice Cream, and spending time with friends and family.

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