This article is more than 1 year old

Facebook image-tagging to be tested in Californian court

Judge flicks ad-network's attempt to dismiss

Facebook has lost the first round of a US class action lawsuit in Illinois, with a judge ruling it can proceed to trial.

The first sueball in the action was lobbed last September, on the basis that the ZuckerBorg was breaking that state's 2008-era Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA).

Plaintiffs Nimesh Patel, Adam Pezen and Carlo Licata complained that in photo-tagging, the company was collecting biometric identifiers without informing users of what was being stored or why, explain how long data would be retained and how to delete it, or get their permission.

Facebook had argued that its terms of service dictate that disputes be heard under Californian law, and the plaintiffs agreed to the move.

The Social NetworkTM was asking the Illinois District Court to flick the case on the grounds that “Tag Suggestions” – the photo-tagging feature – wasn't covered by BIPA. That's because BIPA doesn't apply in its jurisdiction of choice, California.

The judge didn't agree: “if California law is applied,” he writes, “the Illinois policy of protecting its citizens’ privacy interests in their biometric data, especially in the context of dealing with “major national corporations” like Facebook, would be written out of existence”.

Facebook had also tried to convince the court that BIPA didn't apply to photographs, something the judge described as “unpersuasive”.

“The Illinois legislature enacted BIPA to address emerging biometric technology, such as Facebook’s face recognition software as alleged by plaintiffs, without including physical identifiers that are more qualitative and non-digital in nature”, the judgement says, but “the Court will not read the statute to categorically exclude from its scope all data collection processes that use images.“ ®

More about


Send us news

Other stories you might like