Facebook To Pay $650m For Facial Recognition Lawsuit

A Californian federal judge has approved a $650 million settlement of a class-action privacy lawsuit against Facebook because of alleged use of facial recognition technology without peoples permission and said that this “class action is a landmark result.”. This was approved by the US district judge James Donato of the Northern District of California, who said it is "a major win for consumers in the hotly contested area of digital privacy".

As part of the settlement, Facebook will pay three named plaintiffs  $5,000 each while over 1.6 million will receive $345 or more.

 The class-action lawsuit against Facebook was filed in 2015 and accused the firm of violating an Illinois privacy law by creating a photo-tagging feature that used scans of users' faces without their explicit permission. The lawsuit accused the social media giant of failing to get consent before using facial-recognition technology to scan photos uploaded by users to create and store faces digitally. The case eventually wound up as a class-action lawsuit in California and "... will put at least $345 into the hands of every class member interested in being compensated," Judge Donato wrote in his decision..

The California Biometric Information Privacy Act allows consumers to sue companies that didn’t get permission before harvesting data such as faces and fingerprints without consent. 

In a statement, Facebook said that it was "pleased to have reached a settlement" in the case. The company added that it will now move past the matter, which will be "in the best interest" of its users and shareholders. Facebook has since changed its photo-tagging system. 

Facebook's photo-tagging feature enabled users to tag their friends in their newly-uploaded picture, while the Tag Suggestions tool offered suggestions about who the individual might be. Recently there was also a High Court action filed against Facebook in London, accusing the firm of having failed to prevent third parties from accessing and using data of about a million users in England and Wales.

 State of California:      CNet:         Guardian:       Computing:      Manila Standard:   

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