Facebook has lost its appeal that its facial recognition technology did not invade the privacy of its users located in Illinois, United States, leaving the company vulnerable to a class action moving forward.
The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled on Thursday that Facebook’s tag suggestions feature, launched in 2010, caused “concrete injury-in-fact [that is] sufficient” enough for a trial to arise regarding the social network allegedly infringing upon privacy rights of Illinois users.
Tag suggestions allows Facebook to analyze whether a user’s Facebook friends are in a photo uploaded by the user. When a photo is uploaded, the technology scans the photo to detect if there are any geometric data points — such as the distance between the eyes, nose, and ears — that can be used to identify a person’s face. The technology then compares the face signature to faces in Facebook’s database of user face templates to determine if there is a match.