Facebook accused of illegally harvesting facial recognition scans of MILLIONS of Instagram users
INSTAGRAM has been accused of hoarding facial recognition scans of 100millions users without their consent.
In a class-action lawsuit filed in Illinois this week, lawyers allege that the photo-sharing app uses the data illegally to tag people in photos.
Instagram has been accused of illegally harvesting face scans of 100million users[/caption]
If found guilty of breaking the Biometric Information Privacy Act, which requires user consent before collecting “biometric” data such as face scans, Instagram could be fined up to $5,000 (£3,800) per violation.
That means the Facebook-owned app could be forced to cough up $500billion (£380billion) in cash if the plaintiffs prevail, Bloomberg reports.
According to the lawsuit, Facebook scans Instagram photos to create a “face template” that is stored in its database and used to automatically tag photos.
“Once Facebook captures its Instagram users’ protected biometrics, it uses them to bolster its facial recognition abilities,” the plaintiffs wrote in their complaint.
Instagram could be forced to cough up $500billion (£380billion) in cash to users in Illinois[/caption]
The scans are used to boost Facebook’s facial recognition tech “across all of its products, including the Facebook application, and shares this information among various entities,” the filing continues.
“Facebook does all of this without providing any of the required notices or disclosures required by Illinois law.”
In a statement, Facebook denied it collected face scans of Instagram users.
“This suit is baseless. Instagram doesn’t use Face Recognition technology,” a spokesperson told The Sun.
Instagram – the key facts
Here’s what you need to know…
- Instagram is a social network for sharing photos and videos
- It was created back in October 2010 as an iPhone-exclusive app
- A separate version for Android devices was released 18 months later
- The app rose to popularity thanks to its filters system, which lets you quickly edit your photos with cool effects
- When it first launched, users could only post square 1:1 ratio images, but that rule was changed in 2015
- In 2012, Facebook bought Instagram for $1billion in cash and stock
- In 2018, some analysts believe the app is worth closer to $100billion
- In October 2015, Instagram confirmed that more than 40billion photos had been uploaded to the app
- And in 2018, Instagram revealed that more than a billion people were using the app every month
Illinois has strict laws on the hoarding of biometric data, which allows someone to be recognised from anything from their fingerprint to their iris.
Last month, Facebook offered to shell out $650million (£500million) to settle a similar lawsuit that alleged Facebook’s photo-tagging service on its main app stashed biometric data without people’s permission.
However, while the Facebook app uses face-recognition to suggest tags for photos, Instagram doesn’t.
The Whalen v. Facebook lawsuit was filed on Monday in state court in Redwood City, California.
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Instagram has launched its TikTok competing feature “Reels” in over 50 countries.
And, Netflix has added new controls that let users speed up or slow down the pace of their favourite shows.
What are your thoughts on Instagram? Let us know in the comments…
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