Facebook fails again to get lawsuit dismissed
01 December 2017 06:25 GMT

A second judge has refused to dismiss a biometric data lawsuit against Facebook in Illinois.

The judge was addressing lawsuit alleging that Facebook's photo scanning technology flouts users’ privacy rights.

“The right to say no is a valuable commodity,” U.S. District Judge James Donato said Thursday during a hearing in San Francisco. The case concerns the “most personal aspects of your life: your face, your fingers, who you are to the world.”

Facebook is still potentially liable under an Illinois law for fines of $1,000 to $5,000 each time a person’s image is used without permission. A victory for consumers in the class action could lead to new restrictions on Facebook’s use of biometrics in the U.S., similar to those in Europe and Canada.

A lawyer for Facebook argued Thursday that plaintiffs haven’t shown they were harmed by its practices. An attorney for the consumers contended the mere collection by Facebook of biometric data runs afoul of the Illinois law and that the case should move forward without any showing of harm.

“The point is Illinois gave its citizens the right to say no,” Donato said. “The allegation is Facebook usurped that right. That is not a mere technicality in my view.”

Donato previously rejected Facebook’s argument that the case had to be dismissed because the attempt to enforce Illinois law runs afoul of its user agreement that requires disputes to be resolved under the laws of California, where it’s based.

The case is In re Facebook Biometric Information Privacy Litigation, 15-cv-03747, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco). The Google case is Rivera v. Google, 16-cv-02714, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois (Chicago).