A Judge in San Francisco has rejected a request by Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) to dismiss privacy violation charges brought against its photo tagging feature.
The Federal judge dismissed the request thus allowing the case to proceed. The lawsuit claims that the company’s photo-tag system went against the user policy through the creation of faceprints without consent. The faceprints are a geometric representation of a user’s facial profile. The judicial decision paves the way for a legal tussle over the facial recognition system which is one of the company’s most popular services.
Facebook faces allegations of secretly storing the largest amount of user biometric data
The company’s social network has billions of people subscribed to it meaning that if there is indeed a database of biometric data, then it is the largest compilation of biometric data from users from all over the world. The photo-tagging feature was launched in 2010, and it allows users to identify images using a tool that matches uploaded photos to profiles based on names.
Users in Illinois claim that they never allowed the company to use biometrics on their faces. The company’s defense claimed that the biometric information from the photos is not subject to the law. The company also argued that users have the choice to avoid the face tagging feature. The social giant has so far not released an official statement on the matter. The legal representative for the case pursuant in Illinois also said nothing. The case was initially pegged on whether the company’s terms and services are bound by State law in California as well as Federal law. The judge’s decision, however, means that the terms and conditions are not enough to lead to the dismissal of the case.
The lawsuit was therefore given the go-ahead to proceed. If Facebook loses the case, there could be extreme consequences for the company and the industry as a whole. This is because photo-tagging is one of Facebook’s major products and its competitors also came up with similar products to compete in the social space.