Facebook fights discovery bid in facial recognition lawsuit

Last week, Facebook urged a California federal judge to deny a request to conduct more discovery in a suit that alleges the company’s facial recognition and tagging features violate the Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act, according to a report in Law360.

The Illinois statute requires companies that gather biometric data to notify people about the practice before collecting data, and to publish a schedule for destroying the information.

The discovery bid, according to court documents, seeks documents regarding source code related to sign-up pages. Facebook argued that it is an improper request and disregards the court’s local rules and standing orders about the procedures parties must follow to resolve discovery disputes including meeting to resolve a dispute and if that is unsuccessful, the parties must file a letter summing up the dispute.

“Plaintiffs did not meet and confer with Facebook about this dispute,” Facebook argued. “Nor did they seek to compel the production of any additional discovery, through a letter or otherwise.”

According to the Law360 report, Nimesh Patel filed the lawsuit in May, alleging Facebook is violating the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act by “collecting, storing and using the biometric information of its reportedly more than 1 billion users without any written notice or informed written consent, including millions of Illinois residents.” The complaint says that Facebook began using its photo-tagging suggestion feature in 2010 using facial-recognition software to automatically match photos with names and alleges that the company only announced that it was collecting users’ biometric information after it had already begun doing so.

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