Facebook Facing Privacy Class Action Lawsuit over Tagging Facial Recognition Data

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Chicago, IL: A federal privacy class action lawsuit has been filed by a man who is not a Facebook user in Illinois, alleging the social media site violates the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act by collecting facial recognition data from user-uploaded photos without first notifying and receiving informed written consent from the people in the photos, both users and "unwitting"non-users of the site.

Specifically, plaintiff Frederick Gullen contends that Facebook has stored over a billion templates of faces, which can uniquely identify a person in the same way a fingerprint or voiceprint does. However, the site fails to provide a publicly available policy of its guidelines for retaining and destroying non-users' public information, according to the lawsuit.

In 2010, FB released its tagging feature, which works by scanning for faces in user-uploaded photos. It then extracts geometric data from each face, which is used to create a template of that face, "[u]nbeknownst to the average consumer,"according to Gullen.

"If no match is found, the user is prompted to 'tag' (i.e., identify by name) a person to that face, at which point the face template and corresponding name identification are saved in Facebook' face database,"Gullen states. "However, if a face template is generated that matches a face template already in Facebook' face database, then Facebook suggests that the user 'tag' to that face the name already associated with that face."

The lawsuit contends that there could be tens of thousands of Illinois residents who aren't Facebook users who but have had their photos uploaded to the social network.

According to the lawsuit, in May Gullen was "tagged"in a photo uploaded to Facebook by someone else without his permission. The template created from his facial features was also used by Facebook to recognize his gender, age, race and location.

The lawsuit seeks to represent a class of Illinois residents who aren't Facebook users but have been tagged in photos on Facebook.

Gullen is represented by David P. Milian and Frank S. Hedin of Carey Rodriguez O'Keefe Milian Gonya LLP and Katrina Carroll of Lite DePalma Greenberg LLC. The case is Gullen v. Facebook Inc., case number 1:15-cv-07681 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

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Reader Comments

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I got locked out of my own account I've had for close to as long as fb has been active. 4 months later boom one day it let's me in... FOUR MONTHS!! WTF?

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Just recently, while my friend was on facebook, my usb storage device start flashing, which didn't add up, she wasn't using it. But, someone was trying to access it, she unplugged it. When the software that most documents are stored on it would not shut down. So, we investigated Viper to see if we were under attack. And, we were. In fact someone was trying to access our Web Cam and was blocked. Even though, we had uninstalled it. We uninstalled several that were considered to possible spyware. There is a good chance this is what happen to your other client as well. Viper has an ip address where it came from as well. Other programs We have no idea what It is used for but also blocked.
I tell her not to go to fb because, I usually have some kind of Fluke response with my CPU after she and my other friends go there.

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I"m in

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I have had a Facebook account since 2010. Does this affect me

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