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Non-user lawsuit against Facebook under BIPA thrown out


A proposed consumer class-action lawsuit brought against Facebook by a non-user has been thrown out by a California federal judge, Law360 reports.

U.S. District Judge James Donato ruled that Frederick Gullen’s suit under Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) depended on a single photograph of Gullen which was uploaded to an organization’s page by another individual, and that the suit cannot proceed because the page was not scanned by Facebook’s facial recognition software.

Gullen had brought the suit alleging that Facebook had collect his biometric data without the required permission. A Facebook software engineer submitted a declaration that the social media platform does not use its facial recognition capability on images uploaded to organizational accounts. Gullen sought a deferral of the judgement to allow for more discovery, but Donato rejected this request, noting that Facebook previously informed the plaintiff that it does not scan organizational pages.

“Gullen had ample opportunity to conduct discovery on organizational pages, and he has not shown that the discovery he now seeks was in any way unavailable to him in the normal course of litigation,” Donato said.

In a suit originally brought by three Facebook users and subsequently combined, Donato recently ruled against the social media giant, allowing it to proceed to trial on grounds that by removing biometric data from the users’ control, Facebook had caused legal harm to their property interest under BIPA, regardless of “real world harms.”

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