Facebook sued for allegedly harvesting biometric data via Instagram

Yolanda Curtis
August 13, 2020

The social network is now facing a lawsuit for allegedly collecting and storing user biometric data on its photo-sharing app Instagram.

Under the law, Facebook could be faced to pay up to $5,000 per violation for as many as 100 million Instagram users, totalling half a trillion dollars at most. Facebook was specifically accused of collecting, storing, and profiting from the biometric data of over 100 million Instagram users. "This suit is baseless".

The Mark Zuckerberg-led company is liable to pay up to $5000 per violation, depending on the severity of the offense, under the IL law, which prohibits unauthorized collection of biometric data, Bloomberg noted. The claims that it was not until the beginning of 2020 that Facebook started informing Instagram users of the practice.

The state's Biometric Information Privacy Act of 2008 is often invoked by users of technology platforms for apparent violations related to personal information. "Facebook does all of this without providing any of the required notices or disclosures required by IL law", the plaintiffs wrote in their complaint. In July, the company agreed to pay $650 million to settle a lawsuit that alleged similar biometric data harvesting on Facebook's flagship social media platform, Reuters reported. At the same time, the policy also says, "If we introduce face-recognition technology to your Instagram experience, we will let you know first, and you will have control over whether we use this technology for you". Under the IL law, Facebook could be forced to pay $1,000 to $5,000 per violation, meaning the full damages could reach $500 billion if Facebook is found responsible. Facebook did not respond to a request for comment from Bloomberg.

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