Lawsuit Accuses Instagram of Collecting Users’ Biometric Data without Consent

Instagram

A lawsuit filed in California has accused Instagram of harvesting biometric data of users. Just last month, Facebook offered $650 million to settle a lawsuit that accused Facebook of illegally collecting biometric data by using a photo-tagging tool. This time around the lawsuit levies similar allegations against Facebook-owned Instagram.

The lawsuit accuses Instagram of harvesting biometric data of more than 100 million users without their consent. Furthermore, the lawsuit also claims Facebook is storing and profiting from the illegally harvested biometric data. Instagram has informed users about collecting biometric data early this year. However, it is alleged that Instagram was harvesting biometric data even before that.

As per the lawsuit, unauthorized collection of biometric data violates an Illinois privacy law. The company can be made to pay up to $1000 for each violation. If the company has “acted recklessly or intentionally,” the fine can go up to $5000 for each violation. Facebook is yet to comment on the allegations.

Our Take

Biometric data is any data that is created while authenticating the user via the biometric process. It can be fingerprints in case of Touch ID or facial patterns in the case of Face ID. Biometric data is used for monetization, and privacy advocates fear the potential for mass surveillance.

Facebook is often criticized due to the lack of privacy and the way user data is handled. Tag Suggestion, Facebook’s photo-tagging tool used face-matching software to come up with names of people in the photo.

What do you think of Facebook’s repeated lapse when it comes to user data privacy? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

[via Bloomberg]