Saturday, 26 Sep 2020

Instagram faces fresh lawsuit over illegal harvesting of biometrics

SAN FRANCISCO (BLOOMBERG) – Facebook is facing new allegations that it illegally harvests the biometric data of users, this time in a lawsuit that targets the company’s photo-sharing app Instagram.

Last month, the social media company offered to pay US$650 million (S$894 million) to settle a lawsuit in which it was accused of illegally collecting biometric data through a photo-tagging tool provided to Facebook users.

In the new lawsuit, filed on Monday (Aug 10) in state court in Redwood City, California, the company is accused of collecting, storing and profiting from the biometric data of more than 100 million Instagram users, without their knowledge or consent.

The practice violates an Illinois privacy law that bars the unauthorised collection of biometric data, according to the lawsuit.

Under the law, a company can be forced to pay US$1,000 per violation, or US$5,000 if it was found to have acted recklessly or intentionally.

Only at the beginning of this year did Facebook start informing Instagram users that it was collecting the biometric data, according to the suit.

Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment, made after regular business hours.

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