Facebook is facing a lawsuit over harvesting the biometric data of Instagram users. The case was filed in California state court on Monday and Facebook was specifically accused of collecting, storing, and profiting from the biometric data of over 100 million Instagram users without their consent. Facebook could be forced to pay up to $5,000 per violation so the case is about $500 billion. That biometric data relates to facial recognition technology. “Once Facebook captures its Instagram users’ protected biometrics, it uses them to bolster its facial recognition abilities across all of its products, including the Facebook application, and shares this information among various entities. Facebook does all of this without providing any of the required notices or disclosures required by Illinois law,” the plaintiffs wrote in their complaint.
Facebook spokesperson Stephanie Otway said in a statement that Instagram does not use facial recognition in the way the Facebook app does. ‘This suit is baseless. Instagram doesn’t use Face Recognition technology,’ Instagram’s data policy states: ‘If we introduce face-recognition technology to your Instagram experience, we will let you know first, and you will have control over whether we use this technology for you.’ Only at the beginning of this year did Facebook start informing Instagram users that it was collecting the biometric data, according to the suit.