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World

Web Desk
August 9, 2019

Facebook can face billions in potential damages in a class-action lawsuit

World

Web Desk
Fri, Aug 09, 2019

Facebook is facing exposure to billions of dollars in potential damages as the United States federal appeals court on Thursday rejected Facebook’s arguments to halt a class-action lawsuit claiming it legally collected and stored the biometric data of millions of users.

The class-action lawsuit has been working its way through the courts since 2015 when Illinois Facebook users sued the company for alleged violations of the state’s Biometric Information Privacy Act by automatically collecting and identifying people in photographs posted to the service.

Last month, Facebook agreed to pay a record $5 billion fine to settle a Federal Trade Commission data privacy probe.

“This biometric data is so sensitive that if is compromised, there is simply no recourse,” Shawn Williams, a lawyer for plaintiffs in the class action, said in an interview. “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 allegedly accomplished this through its Tag Suggestion feature, which allowed users to recognize their Facebook friends from previously uploaded photos.

These civil damages could come on top of fines that Facebook has already to the U.S. government for violating it agreed with the Federal Trade Commission over its handling of private user data.

U.S. technology company has to now face the single largest penalty. Facebook is potentially on the hook for a $5 billion payout to the U.S. government. The penalty is still subject to approval by the Justice Department.