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Facebook pays 1.6 million social network members $397

More than 1.6 million inhabitants of Illinois, in the Midwest state in the United States, will receive a transfer of 397 dollars, or 377 euros, in the coming days.

The case dates back to 2015. The subject? A legal battle against Facebook’s Face Recognition facial recognition system by users. This software was responsible for recognizing the faces of the user’s friends and suggesting that they be tagged on the publication. In other words, it allowed an artificial intelligence to suggest a person’s name and identify them directly. So far, so good. The problem is that Facebook didn’t really ask for consent to collect and analyze this data. The social network finally removed Face Recognition from its system in 2019. This does not promise that the platform will not reintegrate facial recognition in the future.

One of the strictest privacy laws

The lawsuit, filed seven years ago in Illinois and ended up in Northern California District Court. The text said that Facebook’s photo tagging feature violated Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA), which prohibits the collection of identifiable biometric data without a person’s express consent. It is one of the strictest such laws in the United States. Put simply, it requires companies to obtain permission before using technologies such as facial recognition to identify customers. Note that other states, such as Texas and Washington, have also adopted biometric data privacy laws. The only difference: protected users cannot take legal action themselves.

A long story

According to the lawsuit, the company therefore violated the rights of citizens by collecting and storing scans of their faces without their permission. Thus, more than a million residents of Illinois will thus receive checks and deposits of 397 dollars. And these payments are the result of a long quest.

Indeed, the court has repeatedly rejected numerous requests from the giant Facebook, which hoped to dismiss the lawsuit and even decided to appeal. Finally, it is the sum of 650 million dollars that Facebook agreed to pay as compensation.

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