Three Illinois Facebook users are arguing that Facebook has broken the state's Biometric Information Privacy Act, NPR reported. The law bans Facebook and other private entities from profiting in any way from a person's biometric info, which counts identifying info as the property of the subject, and prohibits the collection and storage of such info without prior written consent.
"We continue to believe the case has no merit and will defend ourselves vigorously," a Facebook rep said of the suit, which first popped up back in 2015. The plaintiffs want penalties of as much as $5,000 per improper facial image use, which could ultimately result in billions of dollars in damages. Per Facebook's request, the case has been moved from Illinois to California.
The news comes amid a particularly not-flattering societal moment for Facebook. In addition to the Cambridge Analytica preposterousness, Facebook has admitted to tracking users and non-users off-site. "There are three main ways in which Facebook uses the information we get from other websites and apps: providing our services to these sites or apps; improving safety and security on Facebook; and enhancing our own products and services," David Baser, Facebook's product management director, said Monday.
Baser added that Facebook doesn't sell users' data and that other companies engage in similar practices. "Many companies offer these types of services and, like Facebook, they also get information from the apps and sites that use them," he said, naming Twitter and LinkedIn as examples.