Facebook is known for not being too strict about data protection, at least that’s what critics keep accusing the social network of. Instagram is currently the target of a lawsuit and the allegations of alleged privacy violations weigh heavily.
Lawsuits related to data protection are nothing new to Facebook, but the latest one that Mark Zuckerberg’s company is facing could be particularly painful – especially financially.
Biometric Data from 100 million users
Because as the business site Bloomberg reports, a lawsuit was filed in California earlier this week. The Facebook subsidiary Instagram is accused of having collected, saved, and benefited from the biometric data of 100 million Instagram users, all without their knowledge or consent.
Facebook described the lawsuit and allegations as “baseless” because Instagram does not use facial recognition technology, spokeswoman Stephanie Otway told Bloomberg. The lawsuit alleges that Instagram is doing this very well, creating “face templates” that are stored in the Facebook database. “Once Facebook collects the protected biometric data of its Instagram users, it uses it to improve its facial recognition capabilities for all of its products, including the Facebook application, and to share this information with various third parties,” the lawsuit said.
The plaintiff, an Illinois-born woman named Kelly Whalen, relies on her home state law that fines illegal collection of biometric data from $1,000 to $5,000 per violation. It is not known whether and how the plaintiff can prove the data collection. However, Facebook recently settled a very similar lawsuit out of court, costing $650 million.