A US federal judge on Monday ruled Facebook will have to face a class action lawsuit regarding its use of Tag Suggestions. According to the lawsuit, Facebook used facial recognition technology to scan photos and make suggestions based on collected data, which is a violation of Illinois law which prohibits the storage of biometric data without permission.
US District Judge James Donato ruled in San Francisco federal court that the plaintiffs’ claims are “sufficiently cohesive” to allow for a class action lawsuit to resolve the dispute.
“A class action is clearly superior to individual proceedings here. While not trivial, BIPA’s statutory damages are not enough to incentivize individual plaintiffs given the high costs of pursuing discovery on Facebook’s software and code base and Facebook’s willingness to litigate the case…,” said Donato in his ruling.
The lawsuit was filed in 2015, but the offending Tag Suggestions, which makes suggestions to Facebook users regarding who to tag by scanning photos, was launched in 2011.
This is another privacy-related issue for Facebook which has been embroiled in the Cambridge Analytica scandal, where the company admitted that the user data at least 87 million Facebook users was improperly accessed and stored by the political data firm.