Facebook Ordered to Face Lawsuit Over Facial Recognition

Facebook Ordered to Face Lawsuit Over Facial Recognition

Facebook must face a class action lawsuit over its use of facial recognition technology, a California judge has ruled.

Too many Irish people have had their data accessed by Cambridge Analytica, the British political consultancy group, Facebook has said. The certification of a class of users is a key step in brining a class action.

The plaintiffs are three Illinois Facebook users who sued under a state law that says a private entity such as Facebook can't collect and store a person's biometric facial information without their written consent.

A Facebook spokeswoman told AFP the company was reviewing the decision, adding: "We continue to believe the case has no merit and will defend ourselves vigorously".

This law protects people over information such as fingerprints, retina scans, and facial recognition. The idea was that it would make it easier for users to tag their friends in photos, although it seems that not everyone necessarily appreciates the convenience that the feature offers.

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

The lawsuit was originally filed in mid-2015 but has been repeatedly kicked down the road with Facebook attempting to have the case dismissed.

At the heart of the issue is a 2008 state regulation known as the Biometric Information Privacy Act, which prohibits the collection or use of biometric data without precise public disclosure. However, the lawsuit is based on the earlier collection of user data. The law also made it illegal for companies to sell, lease, or otherwise profit from a customer's biometric information.

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".