back to article Class action launched against Facebook over biometric slurpage

Facebook has been hit with a class-action complaint over its biometrics slurpage, with millions of possible plaintiffs who may claim damages if the advertising giant is found to have acted unlawfully. The complaint (PDF) states that "Facebook has created, collected and stored over a billion 'face templates' (or 'face prints …

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I really hope this succeeds.

I just do.

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Boffin

@ Lost all faith ... Re: I really hope this succeeds.

This has a lot of legs....

Suppose you, like me don't have a FB account.

Someone tags your face in a photo. Or a couple of photos.

Now they collected your biometric information without your consent. They have no way to get your consent.

As such, I'd say this lawsuit has wings, however... without an account... how do you know if they have collected your biometric information?

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Re: @ Lost all faith ... I really hope this succeeds.

> how do you know if they have collected your biometric information?

When the TwatSpanners(TM) in advertising attach cameras to those colourful LED/LCD/Plasma/whatever advertising boards in shopping centres and then match the camera data to the FB data in order to personalise the adverts to you as you walk by.

I guarantee there are people working in that industry right now who have literally no clue why anyone would be against such a thing.

I think we should lobby our respective parliamentary representatives to have "working in advertising" correctly classified as the mental disorder that it is, then we can help these people with their debilatating social problems instead of villifying them.

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Anonymous Coward

non-consensual creation of a biometric template of his face

Gee… In the days, we just called that a money shot.

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ZuckerBorg

Good one.

But we're still screwed.

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Your face, your property

Isn't it the case that you can't use someones image without consent? Particularly famous people who'd sue if their image appeared to be endorsing someones product?

It's a shame that computer systems can't learn what people look like due to law. It's going to hold us all back in the end, but to be honest, either your face is your property, or it isn't.

I can now not conceive of a future in which your own standalone robot buddy who's data is potentially stored in a large company datacentre could function:

Buddy: "Hi, My names Buddy. I haven't met you before."

Buddy: "The law stipulates that I must now ask permission to store your face-print in my memory which may at some point be merged with my manufacturer and/or operator's datacentre."

Buddy: "Do I have your permission?"

Fellow: "No, that sound wierd, no!"

Buddy: "Hi, My names Buddy. I haven't met you before."

Buddy: "The law stipulates that I must now ask permission to store your face-print in my memory which may at some point be merged with my manufacturer and/or operator's datacentre."

Buddy: "Do I have your permission?"

Seems silly, but any AI system has to remember the Faceprint of the person that it's not allowed to remember.

Either this computer learning has to be an exception, or computer AI will never-ever be able to advance.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Your face, your property

Your robot buddy appears to be accompanied by an awful lot of straw men.

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Re: Your face, your property

It's going to hold us all back in the end

Or get the ones with access to the SkyNet off-switch killed sooner.

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Re: Your face, your property

Buddy: "Do I have your permission?"

Fellow: "No, that sound wierd, no!"

Buddy: "Ok, I have retrained my local-only neural network to recognize your face amongst others as a single aggregated anonymized user 'Dont-Ask-Again'"

FTFY

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Re: you can't use someones image without consent?

No it is not. In some instances yes, in others no. But it isn't ALWAYS a true statement.

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This time, it's not just a matter of changing the ToS

In similar cases, Facebook et.al. usually just amend their ToS to effectively state that all your stuff belongs to them, and that by using the system, you agree to that.

But this time it's about data of other people - non-users - that they ingest and process. This means that just adding an "I agree" button will not work this time. They'll probably try to add words to the smallprint that the user (=uploader) has to obtain consent from all people in the pics, which is (a) ridiculous and (b) probably not defendable as due diligence.

This will be an interesting case...

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Re: This time, it's not just a matter of changing the ToS

user (=uploader) has to obtain consent from all people in the pics, which is (a) ridiculous and (b) probably not defendable as due diligence.

While agreeing with you, recently we had some people taking photographs in our office, and the photographers went round and got a consent form signed by anyone who was in any of the photographs, not just if they were the subject, but also if they were in the background. I guess the pictures are intended for publication, and maybe the consent is there in case someone complains later on. Perhaps this is a defensive action, or maybe there are some rules around this, at least for some uses?

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Hopefully this will open the floodgates...

...for more action against unauthorised data slurping. Apple have my name, address, email and phone numbers despite me not having (or even wanting to have) any of their products. All due to a friend adding this data to their contacts list. Where's my opt-out? Even if I cast this miscreant from my circle of friends, I suspect my data will still be held. Privacy is being shot down in a hail of friendly fire.

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Re: Hopefully this will open the floodgates...

Anyone notice the elephant in the room?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Hopefully this will open the floodgates...

Oh I think MS is working their way up to it. In fact, if I knew a good class action lawyer in my area, I'd probably be seeing if I could be lead plaintiff on one for the latest Windows 7 data slurp.

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Strange though it may sound

There are people out there who don't want a web presence of any kind, people who think their privacy is worth more than everybody else's freedom.

Perhaps we'll see facebook implement a pixilation tool to blank the faces of anyone you haven't asked permission of, or change the T&Cs to make it your problem when you post. Ultimately, if they win, it'll be the end of most group photographs anywhere on the web because it'll be too much hassle to put them up.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Strange though it may sound

"There are people out there who don't want a web presence of any kind, people who think their privacy is worth more than everybody else's freedom."

Wot, you mean Zuckerborg himself, and those two chaps who run Google, etc.

Funny that, the top watchers not wanting to be watched.

Perhaps this slurping isn't as harmless as they'd have us believe ????

Anon - because I don't want to be slurped.

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Re: Strange though it may sound

"Ultimately, if they win, it'll be the end of most group photographs anywhere on the web because it'll be too much hassle to put them up."

Good.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Anon - because I don't want to be slurped.

Too late. You posted on El Reg, the data slurpers know who you are, that you post here, and that activity corresponding to your IP address exactly matches the time of the posting.

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Coffee/keyboard

Facebook Artificial-Intelligence Research Team (FART)

You owe me one new keyboard. (And a coffee)

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Bend it like Beckham

My guess is they'll torture the law to allow FB off the hook. Which will be a double bonus for the security state as this will set a precedent to allow even more egregious data harvesting from the non-consenting public. The law is now a perverse entity. It starts out with a desired decision and charts a course through legality to get there. I wonder how they got the legal system on board with this? Or were they always in cahoots and it's just now we're seeing it as more technology allows greater control..?

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Photog

As a photographer in the US the general rule is if the photo is for commercial use you DO need a release. The prob FB is having is related to the concept of someone taking a public space and charging the public for it's use.

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