Federal judge rules Facebook must face class action lawsuit over facial recognition

Federal judge rules Facebook must face class action lawsuit over facial recognition

A judge for the US District Court for the Northern District of California [official website] ruled [order, PDF] Monday that Facebook must face a class action lawsuit challenging the company’s facial recognition and “tagging” technology.

Judge James Donato ruled that “Facebook users living in Illinois whose face appeared in a photo uploaded to Facebook from Illinois between June 7, 2011,” may proceed with the class action lawsuit. In support of his order, Donato found the plaintiffs met all four requirements necessary to bring a class action lawsuit: (1) the class is “so numerous that joinder of all members is impracticable”; (2) there are questions of law or fact in common; (3) the parties’ claims or defenses are “typical of the claims or defenses of the class”; and (4) the named parties proved they would “fairly and adequately protect the interests of the class.” The lawsuit also sought representation of “people living in Illinois for whom Facebook has a stored ‘face template’ that was created between June 7, 2011,” but the court denied class action on this claim.

The lawsuit [complaint, PDF] alleges Facebook’s “tag suggestions” violate Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act [text], which prohibits private entities form collecting, capturing, purchasing, receiving through trade or otherwise obtaining “a person’s or customer’s biometric identifier or biometric information” without informed consent.