There is a class action lawsuit playing out in Cali against Facebook. The company just lost their appeal to have it thrown out.
The claim is a doozie. An Illinois plaintiff submits that the social media giant "illegally collected and stored biometric data for millions of users without their consent." In a regulatory environment where $5 billion Facebook settlements with the FTC are an acceptable cost of doing business, this is looking like it might turn into some kind of thing.
A quote from the above AP article. “'This biometric data is so sensitive that if it is compromised, there is simply no recourse,' said Shawn Williams, a lawyer for plaintiffs in the class action, said in an interview. 'It’s not like a Social Security card or credit card number where you can change the number. You can’t change your face.'”
The real issue is Facial Recognition (a statement true in this editorial, and in life), and the case is brought under a law that says you can't take people's biometric information without their content. Facebook claims that all of its use of software-to-recognize-your-eyebrows is fully understood and consented to by the public. Could this perhaps be the case where we finally take banal consent practices to task?
Interestingly, Google faced a similar case recently, and their efforts at appeal were successful. Something different between the two, for sure. I'm not certain that it's a more robustly ethical data treatment though.
Let's see how close we can veer to dystopian hellscape before writing the course. Come on California. Side with the 7 million platform users.
Yours in HAT,