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Facebook to Pay $550M to Settle Facial Recognition Suit


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A sign outside Facebook's Menlo Park, CA, headquarters.

Facebook will pay $550 million to settle a lawsuit over its use of facial recognition technology.

Credit: Jason Henry/The New York Times

Facebook has agreed to pay $550 million to settle a class-action lawsuit over its use of facial recognition technology in Illinois.

The plaintiffs alleged the company breached a state biometric privacy statute by harvesting facial data for its Tag Suggestions photo-labeling service, using photos of millions of residents without their consent, and without explaining how long the data would be retained.

The settlement coincides with increasing public anxiety about facial recognition and other surveillance technologies, with civil liberties advocates warning such measures could jeopardize public anonymity.

Companies facing scrutiny have argued that people should be barred from litigating over consumer privacy law violations, if they cannot prove that financial losses or other tangible losses ensued.

American Civil Liberties Union staff attorney Nathan Wessler said, "Courts have recognized that the very loss of control over this highly sensitive, highly personal information itself causes harm to people."

From The New York Times
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