Facebook is making headlines every now and then and now Facebook-owned Instagram is also facing a lawsuit, that claims the social-media website is illegally collecting the biometric data of users from its photo-tagging feature. “Facebook is accused of collecting, storing, and profiting from the biometric data of more than 100 million Instagram users, without their knowledge or consent,” reads Bloomberg report.
Last month Facebook faced a similar lawsuit, which was settled by paying a fine of $650 million. The new lawsuit accused the social media platform of mishandling the data of more than 100 million Instagram users. According to the Illinois privacy law, Facebook can be entitled to pay $1,000 – $5,0000 per violation if the company is found out to be guilty of committing this violation intentionally or carelessly.
“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,” plaintiffs wrote in the lawsuit.
The lawsuit also claims that Facebook is collecting biometric data since the beginning of 2020 without acknowledgement of the users. Recently, Apple iOS 14 beta users got a shock when it was reported that Instagram was using the camera of smartphones in the background without their knowledge.
Some Instagram users also reported on the Apple help forum that the camera’s ‘on’ indicator is firing up, the moment they open the app. Moreover, this was not when users were scrolling through their feed, it was happening when they scroll through the stories, which doesn’t require a camera to record anything. However, Instagram quickly came into the picture and put all the blame on a bug. Later the bug got fixed by the company.
Facebook has also open-sourced one of its secret security tools, which finds all the bugs and fix them. The security tool is known as Pysa, it’s an open-source tool which is easily available on open-source repository GitHub. The company claims that Pysa is responsible for detecting 44 percent of security bugs on Instagram and fixing them.
A spokesperson told Daily motion, “the claims are false, and that Instagram does not use the face recognition services that are offered on Facebook.”
“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,” reads Instagram’s data policy.
In the data policy, Instagram also confirms that the company collects, “unique identifiers, device IDs, and other identifiers, such as from games, apps or accounts you use, and Family Device IDs (or other identifiers unique to Facebook Company Products associated with the same device or account).
It’s also written in the data policy that Instagram uses face recognition technology only when the users allow it. This feature recognises uses photo, video, and camera experiences. The face-recognition templates Instagram creates may constitute data with special protections under the laws of a specific country.
Facebook is still denying all the charges and calling it baseless, let’s see what judgment we are going to witness with the procurement of the case.