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Facebook Facing Another Lawsuit Over Instagram

instagram aug13 lt

A new class-action lawsuit filed against Facebook accuses the company's photo and video-sharing app Instagram of illegally collecting biometric data of as many as 100 million users without their consent, according to reports.

The lawsuit filed in a state court in California, alleges that Instagram uses its photo-tagging technology to create a database of users' facial features.

It accuses Instagram and Facebook of violating an Illinois state law that bans companies from harvesting the biometric data of people without their knowledge or consent.

Facebook has been accused of collecting, storing and also profiting from the biometric data of the Instagram users without their consent.

The lawsuit is seeking damages for up to 100 million Instagram users. Under Illinois law, Facebook could be forced to pay $1000 to $5000 for each violation. The social media giant could end up paying up to $500 billion in full damages if found liable.

However, a Facebook spokesperson was quoted as saying that the lawsuit is baseless as Instagram does not use Face Recognition technology.

In July, Facebook is said to have offered to pay $650 million to settle a similar lawsuit that accused the company of illegally collecting biometric data through a photo-tagging tool for Facebook users.

In July 2019, the Federal Trade Commission or FTC imposed a $5 billion penalty on Facebook for violating consumers' privacy. The fine was imposed after the FTC investigated Facebook regarding allegations that UK-based political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica accessed the data of 87 million Facebook users without authorization.

Meanwhile, facial recognition technology, which can be used by governments to spy on anyone, has also been under scrutiny for years now.

Privacy activists such as American Civil Liberties Union or ACLU have been demanding stricter regulation of the technology for years over concerns that the tool is being used for racial discrimination.

In June, tech giant Google's employees signed an internal petition demanding that the company stop selling its technology to police departments. The Google employees' dissent came after Amazon and Microsoft said they will not sell their facial recognition technology to police agencies.

Amazon has announced a one-year moratorium on police use of its facial recognition technology, Rekognition, to give ample time to the governments to implement stronger regulations for racial equality and justice.

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