(Ap) – A federal appeals court on Thursday rejected Facebook Inc’s (FB.D) attempt to reverse a class-action lawsuit claiming that it illegally collected and stored personal data of millions of users without their consent.
FILE PHOTO: Attendees walk past a Facebook logo during the Facebook Inc. F8 developers conference in San Jose, California, united states, April 30, 2019. REUTERS/Stephen Lam/File Photo
The 3-0 decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco will expose Facebook to the billions of dollars in potential damages along the Illinois and that this is the case.
It came as the social media company faces broad criticism from lawmakers and regulators over the privacy practices. Last month, Facebook agreed to pay a record $5 billion fine to settle a us Federal Trade Commission on the privacy of the data probe.
“This is sensitive information, it is so sensitive that if it is compromised, there’s just not a short story,” Shawn Williams, a lawyer of the plaintiffs in the class action, said in an interview. “It’s not like a Social security card, or credit card number, which allows you to change the number. You can’t change your face.”
Facebook, do not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The lawsuit was started in the year 2015, when the Illinois users, has accused Facebook of violating that state’s Biometric Information Privacy Act, and with the help of facial recognition technology to collect biometric data.
Facebook is reportedly able to achieve this goal is by means of the “Tag Suggestions” feature, allowing users to recognize which of their Facebook friends are currently uploading the photos.
Writing for the court of appeals,, Circuit Judge Sandra Ikuta said that the Illinois users to be able to sue as a group, and the rejection of Facebook’s argument, their claims were unique and required an individual’s actions.
She also said that, in 2008, Illinois law provided for the protection of individuals’ ‘concrete’ interests of privacy,” and that Facebook’s alleged unauthorized use of a face template, “an individual to violate their own issues and specific interests.”
The court of appeal and returned the case to U.s. District court Judge James Donato in San Francisco and was certified as a class action in April 2018, before a possible trial, unless the Facebook with the success of the appeal.
Federal court proceedings the plaintiffs to sue Facebook in California, although they are also called Illinois home.
Illinois’ biometric privacy act provides for damages of $1,000 for each negligent violation and $ 5,000 for each intentional or reckless violation.
Williams, a partner at Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd, said that the class was able to have 7 million Facebook users.
The FTC probe is derived from the discovery of the fact that Facebook had a British consultancy firm, Cambridge Analytica harvesting of users ‘ personal information. Facebook’s $5 billion payout that will require getting the united states Department of Justice for approval.
In the case Patel et al v Facebook Inc, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 19-15982.
Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Steve Orlofsky