The case was brought forward by Illinois resident Frederick William Gullen, who cited state legislation requiring that companies obtain individuals’ consent before capturing their biometric data. Gullen’s image was uploaded to the site by a friend, who tagged his name to the picture, allowing Facebook to create a biometric profile of the man even though he wasn’t signed up for the social media service.
The matter was decided by US District Court Judge Jorge Alonso, who essentially ruled that because Facebook makes the same technology available across the country (and indeed the world) and does not target Illinois residents specifically, the company cannot be held accountable for the actions of users in that state. While this offers some vindication for the company, it still faces another, similar lawsuit over its biometric data collection, which is set to play out in the company’s home state of California.
Meanwhile, another federal judge recently ruled that a similar case against photo-sharing service Shutterfly will proceed in court; that case also revolves around the same Illinois legislation.
January 27, 2016 – by Alex Perala