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Judge criticizes “troubling theme” of misinterpretation in Facebook legal arguments


U.S. District Court Judge James Donato has scolded Facebook in a ruling, saying the company’s misinterpretation of previous court orders is a “troubling theme,” the Los Angeles Times reports.

Donato ruled that Facebook must proceed to trial to settle several factual issues that are in dispute, including whether its photo-tagging technology collects scans of face geometry, which would qualify as collection of biometric data under Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA). In the ruling, Donato referred to a research document by Facebook on its DeepFace program, as well as internal emails that suggest the company acknowledged the practice is normally considered biometric data collection.

In addition to the need to determine the disputed facts, Donato said Facebook has continually asserted that plaintiffs can only win their lawsuit by proving “actual injury,” which he called a “faulty proposition,” according to the Times.

Facebook filed a petition earlier this month to appeal Donato’s ruling that the case can proceed as a class action suit.

An amendment to BIPA has been brought forward in the Illinois’ legislature which could exempt Facebook, but the company faces other privacy concerns in both Europe and the U.S.

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