Facebook BIPA trial date set as harm to “property interest” ruled sufficient

Facebook faces a trial in the suit brought against it for allegedly violating Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) on July 9, if it cannot settle the suit before then. U.S. District Judge James Donato set the trial date and directed the company and plaintiffs to undertake settlement talks, but did not rule on the request for class-action status, Seeking Alpha reports.

Donato rejected Facebook’s argument that its user agreement constituted consent for biometric collection for its photo-tagging feature, and dismissed its argument that plaintiffs are obligated to show “real world harms.”

Facebook had argued that a December 2017 ruling in Rosenbach v. Six Flags set a precedent requiring the plaintiffs demonstrate harm, but Donato ruled the nature of the complaint was different, as plaintiffs were alleging a loss of control of their protected data, rather than a violation in collection for a specific use, according to Courthouse News Service.

The plaintiffs had argued that Facebook harmed a “property interest” they had in their biometric data, and Donato sided with them in February in allowing their attempt to give the suit class-action status to proceed.

Facebook recently began placing notifications of its use of facial recognition in U.S. user’s “News Feeds,” though it said the move was unrelated to the BIPA lawsuit.

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