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Facebook's Facial Recognition is Headed to Court
By: Jessica Cherok
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Facebook’s facial recognition technology is now the subject of a lawsuit.

The social media giant rolled out the facial recognition several years ago as a way to help its users tag each other in photos easily. The tagging was automatically defaulted to being on, causing many users and privacy experts to cry foul. Now, an Illinois man is taking Facebook to court.

The man claims that Facebook has violated Illinois state law, and that the site has “secretly amassed the world’s largest privately held database of consumer biometrics data.” The man, Carlo Licata, claims Facebook never had his permission to collect his biometrics, and that he was never allowed the chance to opt out of having his biometrics collected and stored.

Facebook has since released a statement that the lawsuit is without merit. They also pointed out that Licata was given the option to disable the automatic tagging. Jay Edelson, Licata’s attorney, says being able to opt out isn’t the same as not being collected at all. "If he changed the privacy setting, that wouldn’t change anything because (Facebook) had taken his data and they’re holding on to it. There is no delete button.”

Still, Facebook is hardly shying away from facial recognition technologies. The company is currently building DeepFace, which they claim to have “near human” recognition abilities. 

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About the Author
Jessica Cherok is an advocate for online privacy, campaigning for ethical data practices and the protection of personal privacy.
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