Facebook appeals class action certification of BIPA lawsuit

Facebook is appealing the decision by U.S. District Court Judge James Donato that complainants in a lawsuit filed against the company under Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) can certify their suit as a class action, which would include all residents of the state with “faceprints” stored by the company since 2011, MediaPost reports.

The company has filed a sealed petition with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to begin the appeal process.
BIPA, which requires explicit notification and consent for biometric data collection, allows for damages of up to $5,000 per user. Donato has previously ruled that by collecting the data, Facebook harmed user’s property interests, setting a trial date of July 9, though he has also thrown out a similar suit brought by a non-user who appeared in a photo uploaded to Facebook.

Donato allowed the suit to proceed with class action certification in April, ruling that the harm to user property interests created a consistent degree of liability, and rejecting Facebook’s assertion that injuries would have to be individually determined for each user.

Illinois legislators are considering amending BIPA to provide broad exemptions.

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