This week, a federal judge dismissed an attempted class action lawsuit against Facebook that argued the site’s photo tagging violates Illinois privacy law.
The case was brought last August by a man, Frederick Gullen, who claimed that someone uploaded a picture of him to Facebook and tagged it with his name despite the fact that he does not have a Facebook profile. Gullen then claimed that Facebook stored information about his “facial geometry” to its database so it could identify him in future photos. His lawsuit said that this violates the Biometric Information Privacy Act, an Illinois law that restricts how companies can collect and use biometric data.
Though the federal judge dismissed Gullen’s case, he did so only on the grounds that the Illinois court had no jurisdiction in the case. He did not render an opinion on the actual allegations made about Facebook, though the social media giant strongly disputed Gullen’s claims.
“Tag Suggestions does not apply to people without Facebook accounts,” Facebook’s attorneys said. “If a person who is tagged in a photo on Facebook does not have a Facebook account, Facebook does not, contrary to … the complaint, save a ‘face template’ and ‘corresponding name identification’ in its ‘database.’”
Several other similar suits have been consolidated and are currently working their way through the legal system in California, so you can bet the battle over Facebook’s facial recognition isn’t over yet.
Although you can’t opt out of this feature, it is a good idea to enable tag review. This keeps items you are tagged in from auto-posting to your Timeline.