A federal appeals court on Thursday rejected Facebook’s effort to undo a class action lawsuit claiming that it illegally collected and stored biometric data for millions of users without their consent.
The 3-0 decision from the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco over Facebook’s facial recognition technology exposes the company to billions of dollars in potential damages to the Illinois users who brought the case.
It came as the social media company faces broad criticism from lawmakers and regulators over its privacy practices. Last month, Facebook agreed to pay a record $5 billion (roughly Rs. 35,410 crores) fine to settle a Federal Trade Commission data privacy probe.
“This biometric data is so sensitive that if it is compromised, there is simply no recourse,” Shawn Williams, a lawyer for plaintiffs in the class action, said in an interview. “It’s not like a Social Security card or credit card number where you can change the number. You can’t change your face.”