Judge takes issue with Facebook motion to dismiss Illinois privacy lawsuit

December 1, 2017 - 

Facebook’s bid to have a lawsuit filed against it under Illinois’ biometric privacy law thrown out seems unlikely to succeed after the district court judge took issue with the company’s claim that consumers were unharmed by its practices, Bloomberg reports.

A lawyer for Facebook argued Thursday in San Francisco that the plaintiffs have not shown they were harmed, and therefore the case should not proceed, while a lawyer for the plaintiffs countered that the collection of biometric data without consent constitutes harm under Illinois law.

“The right to say no is a valuable commodity,” U.S. District Judge James Donato said. He added that biometrics at issue are among the “most personal aspects of your life: your face, your fingers, who you are to the world,” according to Bloomberg.

“The point is Illinois gave its citizens the right to say no,” Donato said. “The allegation is Facebook usurped that right. That is not a mere technicality in my view.”

Facebook previously attempted unsuccessfully to have the case dismissed on grounds that its user agreement requires disputes to be settled according to the laws of the company’s home state of California.

As previously reported, Facebook has a history of lobbying against facial recognition laws, and is developing plans to use facial recognition technology for services ranging from account recovery to retail payments.

Google is currently defending itself in a similar lawsuit.

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About Chris Burt

Chris Burt is a writer and contributor to Biometric Update. He has also written nonfiction about information technology, dramatic arts, sports culture, and fantasy basketball, as well as fiction about a doomed astronaut. He lives in Toronto. You can follow him on Twitter @AFakeChrisBurt."