Facebook must face class action over face-tagging in photos: jude

JD Lasica  Flickr

On April 6, a coalition of consumer privacy organizations led by the Electronic Privacy Information Center filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, accusing Facebook of violating individual's privacy via the company's facial recognition practices.

That is the date when Facebook launched "Tag Suggestions", a feature that suggests people to tag after a Facebook user uploads a photo.

Judge Donato didn't agree with Facebook's argument that the law doesn't apply to it, because its servers aren't located in the state.

The coalition also claims Facebook's policy violates the 2011 Consent Order with the Commission, calling the scanning of faces without "unlawful".

The feature is not available to users in most countries, including the United Kingdom - and can be turned off in settings for USA users.

"Facebook should suspend further deployment of facial recognition pending the outcome of the FTC investigation", EPIC President Marc Rotenberg said. The certification of a class of users is a key step in brining a class action.

The company is now trying to roll out facial recognition technology inside the European Union again, according to the Irish Times, but on an opt-in basis.

A California judge on Monday gave the green light to a three-year-old case claiming the social network violated IL law. The complaint was filed by Frederick William Gullen of IL.

Most of this isn't new information, but it's part of Facebook's initiative to be more transparent with the government and its users about how the data it collects is shared.

The class action will consist of users in IL "for whom Facebook created and stored a face template after June 7, 2011", he said.

Although no federal law exists to govern the commercial use and collection of biometrics, IL and Texas have passed laws created to protect the public. The company says that its "face templates" are not related to the state's Biometric Information Privacy Act.

The plaintiffs bringing the lawsuit to Facebook's door allege the company gathered biometric facial information without their explicit consent.

Once you've entered your privacy settings, scroll down all the way until you reach "How people can find and contact you" and change your settings accordingly - you'll also want to ensure that the last option: "Do you want search engines outside of Facebook to link to your profile" is set on "No".

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