Facebook could face up to $500 billion in fines if it is found violating laws in the US in a class-action lawsuit that accused its subsidiary Instagram of collecting biometric data without the consent or knowledge of users, the media reported.
The lawsuit was filed on Monday in state court in Redwood City, California, DailyMail.com reported on Wednesday. It accuses Instagram of using a photo-tagging tool that uses facial recognition to identify people.
In its terms of service, Instagram admits that it has a facial recognition feature that users can turn on. The face-recognition “templates” it creates may constitute data with special protections “under the laws of your country,” Instagram discloses in its data policy.
“If we introduce face-recognition technology to your Instagram experience, we will let you know first, and you will have control over whether we use this technology for you,” says Instagram.
But the lawsuit alleges that Instagram automatically scans the faces of people who may not even have an Instagram account but appear in posts of other users.
Thus, instagram harvested biometrics data of people who did not agree to the platform’s terms of service, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit accused the company of collecting, storing and profiting from 100 million users without their consent. In a statement to DailyMail.com, a Facebook spokesperson said that the “suit is baseless”, and that Instagram does not use the face recognition services that are offered on Facebook.
This is not the first time Facebook has faced lawsuit for use of facial recognition technology. Last month, the social networking giant agreed to pay $650 million to settle a class action lawsuit that accused it of violating data collection rules in the state of Illinois, US.