Facebook is in the headlines for what could be its largest lawsuit ever, with the social networking giant facing a potential $500 billion (that's $500,000,000,000) fine over collecting users' biometric data through Instagram without their consent.
A new class action lawsuit has been filed against Facebook, the parent company of Instagram, claiming the social networking giant uses facial recognition to identify people and then create a "face template" that is stored in its database.
The lawsuit alleges that this face template tool automatically scans other people featured in the photos uploaded to Instagram, even if they don't use Instagram -- and hence, didn't agree to the terms of service like someone does when they install Instagram.
Illinois state law prohibits companies from collecting people's biometric data without their consent, alleges the class action lawsuit. The plaintiffs explain:
"Once Facebook captures its Instagram users' protected biometrics, it uses them to bolster its facial recognition abilities across all of its products, including the Facebook application, and shares this information among various entities. Facebook does all of this without providing any of the required notices or disclosures required by Illinois law".
Facebook spokesperson Stephanie Otay said that Instagram doesn't use facial recognition in the same way that the Facebook app does, explaining: "This suit is baseless. Instagram doesn't use Face Recognition technology".