Facebook must face a class action lawsuit that alleges that the social network unlawfully used a facial recognition process on photos without user permission, a US federal judge ruled on Monday.
US District Judge James Donato ruled in San Francisco federal court that a class action is the most efficient way to resolve the dispute over facial templates, Reuters reports.
The ruling came after Facebook users sued the firm in 2015, alleging violations of an Illinois state law about the privacy of biometric information.
The class will consist of Facebook users in Illinois for whom Facebook created and stored facial recognition algorithms after June 7, 2011, Donato ruled.
That is the date when Facebook launched “Tag Suggestions,” a feature that suggests people to tag after a Facebook user uploads a photo.
In the US court system, certification of a class is typically a major hurdle that plaintiffs in proposed class actions need to overcome before reaching a possible settlement or trial, Reuters noted.
Facebook said it is reviewing the ruling.
“We continue to believe the case has no merit and will defend ourselves vigorously,” the company said in a statement.
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