Cyber LegalityCyber Security

Facebook to Pay $650 Million For Illegal Collection of Data

Facebook has agreed to pay $650 million to settle an Illinois class-section lawsuit against the company’s use of facial recognition technology. In this article at Courthouse News Service, Nicholas Iovino explains in-depth about Facebook’s agreement to settle $650 million over its use of facial recognition technology.

What Happened?

“Three consolidated class actions filed in 2015 and 2016 accused the social network of creating templates of Illinois users’ faces for its ‘Photo Tag Suggest’ function since 2011 without consent,” says Nicholas. The photo-centric platform failed to tell its users how long their data would be stored in violation of the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act of 2008.

Facebook denied that it did anything wrong and tried to settle the lawsuit for $550 million in January 2020. The judge rejected the offer stating that the $500 million figure would result in a payout of just $150 to $300 per person. Therefore, Facebook has now added an additional $100 million to its proposal. Both sides of the suit have agreed to the proposal but is yet to be approved by a judge.

Funds from the settlement will be available to Illinois Facebook users whose picture appeared on the site after 2011 and could pay out as much as $400 per person.

One possible bright spot for Facebook is the $650 million settlement. Though it is a lot of money, it is less than the $47 billion that Facebook could have lost if the case went to trial.

Why Should You be Worried About Facial Recognition?

  • Compromised facial data poses considerable threats to governments as well as ordinary citizens. Cybercriminals can effortlessly spoof other people’s identity to carry out illegal activities if there are no stringent security measures employed.
  • No technology is 100 percent accurate.  Facial recognition technology is no exception. There could be chances of facial recognition making false claims, that can lead to undesirable consequences.
  • Having your biometrics sent to advertisers through social media platforms could expose your information to unwanted audiences and increase your odds of being a data breach victim.

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