Skip to Content

Stock photo from Pexels

Lawsuit against Google’s facial recognition dismissed

A lawsuit against Internet giant Google, which has been pending since 2016, was rejected by a US federal judge. As a result, Google may continue to use its face recognition technology.

Published: January 3, 2019, 9:07 am

    Read more

    The ruling could also have an impact on other companies like Facebook.

    A US federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit against Google, which accused the technology company that its face recognition technology was violating users’ privacy rights. But because the case was dismissed, Google may continue to scan and save biometric data.

    The lawsuit, filed in 2016, found that Google violated the law of the state of Illinois by collecting biometric data without the consent of those affected, America’s toughest biometric privacy law. The data is obtained from images stored on Google Photos.

    The plaintiffs sought more than $5 million in compensation for “hundreds of thousands” of affected users and argued that unauthorized scanning of their faces was a violation of the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act(BIPA), which prohibits the collection of biometric data without consent.

    Google disputed the allegation and stated that the plaintiffs were not entitled to compensation because they had not been harmed by the data collection. On Saturday, US Federal Judge Edmond E Chang sided with the tech giant and ruled that the plaintiffs had not incurred any “tangible damage” and dismissed the lawsuit as a result.

    Not only will the ruling allow Google to continue the practice, but it could also affect other pending case against Facebook and Snapchat. Both companies are also currently facing trials for the alleged violation of the Illinois Law.

    Google has lobbied hard against BIPA, but the incoming Illinois Attorney General has vowed to resist attempts to weaken the privacy legislation.

    In the midst of increasing resistance from privacy activists, biometric scanning has become more and more ubiquitous in recent years. The technology has been used at US airports and by the British police – though it is unreliable and unregulated in most countries.

    Face recognition can be used to identify faces in crowds using CCTV footage, track the movements of people on public transport networks, and search public places for wanted criminals.

    It is not yet clear if the dismissal will be appealed, but with the Supreme Court decision on the same question of interpretation pending, it seems likely.

    State courts have previously found that an “injury in-fact” was necessary to establish harm in BIPA suits, but in a separate case have also found that damage to plaintiffs’ “property interest” is sufficient to establish harm.

    Alongside Facebook, companies like Epsilon, Equifax and Experian are even more intrusive and actually sell the data of users.

    Facebook is also facing a lawsuit because of its photo tagging feature. Currently, users will be asked if they want to tag the person in a photo because Facebook stores biometric data to identify people is in a given photo. The lawsuit alleges that this violates the privacy act because users do not give permission for their faceprint to be stored by Facebook.

    In April, a judge ruled against a motion by Facebook to dismiss the case brought against it. The tech company, which experienced a rocky 2018 to say the least, faces a class action lawsuit for its tagging technology which allegedly violates the privacy law.

    Companies like Facebook and Google are dangerous due to the power they wield over society, and it now appears that privacy laws won’t suffice to make them accountable.

    In Ireland, facial recognition technology has been used in a less Orwellian manner in tracking and monitoring the movements of dairy cows.

    Consider donating to support our work

    Help us to produce more articles like this. FreeWestMedia is depending on donations from our readers to keep going. With your help, we expose the mainstream fake news agenda.

    Keep ​your language polite​. Readers from many different countries visit and contribute to Free West Media and we must therefore obey the rules in​,​ for example​, ​Germany. Illegal content will be deleted.

    If you have been approved to post comments without preview from FWM, you are responsible for violation​s​ of​ any​ law. This means that FWM may be forced to cooperate with authorities in a possible crime investigation.

    If your comments are subject to preview ​by FWM, please be patient. We continually review comments but depending on the time of day it can take up to several hours before your comment is reviewed.

    We reserve the right to del​ete​ comments that are offensive, contain slander or foul language, or are irrelevant to the discussion.

    Americas

    Impeachment: Donald Trump acquitted in the Senate

    WashingtonThe United States Senate acquitted former President Donald Trump of impeachment charges. Fifty-seven senators voted to convict, while forty-three voted to acquit, but conviction would have required a two-thirds majority, or sixty-seven votes.

    Trump will never be allowed to return to Twitter even if re-elected president

    WashingtonMore than a month after the suspension of Donald Trump's Twitter account, immediately after the demonstration at the Capitol by his supporters, one of the leaders of the blue bird social network confirmed the absolutely final nature of this suspension.

    ‘A global surveillance state is emerging before our eyes’

    BerlinOn January 28, the AfD parliamentary group delivered a speech in the Bundestag under the title “Big Tech and freedom of expression on the Internet” following Donald Trump's Twitter ban. The deputy group leader of the AfD, Beatrix von Storch, warned of the "globalist left in alliance with Big Tech".

    Part three of damning ‘Navarro Report’ on US election fraud published

    WashingtonHarvard economist Peter Navarro (r.) has published the third part of his report on alleged electoral fraud in the US, just in time for the inauguration of the "elected" President Joe Biden on Wednesday.

    Will the Signal messaging app defy Tech Giant censorship?

    Available on Android and iOS, the application Signal is popular for being particularly secure, and for having no connection with Facebook, the owner of WhatsApp.

    Two major banks to close Donald Trump’s accounts

    WashingtonIn addition to being banned from every major social media platform and payment processor, the largest German bank, the most important creditor of the Trump Organization, has decided to no longer do business with the outgoing president or his companies.

    Twitter loses $5 billion in market value after Trump ban

    Washington, DCWhen the markets opened this week, the two most anti-Trump social networks posted a marked decline. Twitter lost a massive $5 billion in market value after the company decided to permanently ban President Donald Trump from the platform.

    Arrest warrant issued for Donald Trump

    US President Donald Trump has been a wanted man with an arrest warrant dated January 7, 2021. Interpol has received a corresponding search request. However, this arrest warrant was not issued by a US court.

    Leftist mayor calls National Guard to Washington – unarmed protester shot dead

    Washington, DCAn unarmed pro-Trump protester was shot dead by Capitol police on Wednesday. On the eve of the election of the US President in Congress on January 6, Washington DC saw a mega-demonstration by Trump supporters.

    Vaccine makers shielded from all liability as adverse reactions pile up

    The potential health risks linked to fast-tracking vaccines loom large. On December 18, some 3 150 vaccine recipients had reported “Health Impact Events” according to the US CDC. This was from only 272 001 doses of the vaccine administered as of December 19.

    Go to archive