The U.S. Supreme Court this week declined to take up the case of whether users can sue Facebook for using facial recognition technology without consent. That means the company will likely have to face a gigantic class-action lawsuit over an Illinois privacy law.
The case stems from the question of whether Facebook’s photo tagging feature violates a law that forbids the collection of biometric data without consent. For its part, Facebook argued that the users could not prove that this alleged privacy violation led to any actual harm.
“Although plaintiffs claim that their privacy interests have been violated, they have never alleged — much less shown — that they would have done anything differently, or that their circumstances would have changed in any way, if they had received the kind of notice and consent they alleged that [the law] requires, rather than the disclosures that Facebook actually provided to them,” Facebook wrote in its original petition. However, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the tech giant’s argument last year, and now the Supreme Court has seemingly gone against it, too.
Of course, Facebook has basically infinite resources to fight these battles, and the chances of a lasting change being implemented are slim. Still, it’s encouraging to see the court system so willing to crack down on the company when it may have stepped over the line.
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