back to article US judge won't budge over Facebook's last-minute bid to 'derail' facial biometrics trial

A US judge has given short shrift to Facebook's delaying tactics in its long-running legal battle over its use of facial recognition technology, saying the corporation's concerns about financial costs and reputation damage were thin and unconvincing. The data-hungry social media biz had asked for a stay in the class-action …

"Don't want to go to trial cos I'll lose a lot of money" - can't believe how childish FB's lawyers are. Or desperate.

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Happy

Re: can't believe how childish FB's lawyers are.

Hmmm...

So you are completely unfamiliar with the organization?

Because anyone with even a tangential association with them wouldn't be.

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Not sure this is a Facebook-specific move - I don't think anyone involved from the bottom all the way to the top even wasted a single millisecond pondering whether this action has any chances of success or not; it's just one of these things that get matter-of-factly filed solely because they can be filed, and if by some miracle they succeed they're a free bonus. If it gets shot down nobody is surprised, nobody cares. Sort of a lawyerese "due diligence" thing, actual outcome is irrelevant...

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WTF?

A$$holes

I wonder if this kind of messing about on Facebooks part could open them up to Contempt of Court proceedings as they are obviously doing everything in their power to avoid going to court.

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Re: A$$holes

Isn't that pretty typical? If you follow any high profile trial with a deep pocketed defendant they will try to "wear out" the other side by making as many motions and appeals on small points of law as possible. If they get lucky they can reduce the scope of what they have to defend, get evidence tossed, or if they're really lucky get the whole thing tossed on a technicality.

Maybe this is only a US thing, but I doubt it.

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Holmes

Reputational injury

What are FB's land-sharks smoking? From the judgement:

sending notice to the class in advance of the trial will embarrass it and inflict “reputational” injury.

Well, yes, there's nothing quite like putting a man with one leg into an arse-kicking contest. FB's "reputation" is irreparably damaged as it is; the news just hasn't filtered down to everyone yet.

Of course, if said man cut his own leg off, knowing full well the trial of buttock pugilism was coming, he only has himself to blame.

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Re: Reputational injury

So FB has to track down the current addresses of everyone who may have used FB in Illinois during the period in question, and mail them postcards stating something to this effect: "The prosecution alleges that FB misused facial recognition against you".

Excellent.

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Re: Reputational injury

Most FB users are just like smokers: Hooked.

They don't care if it's damaging, or not.

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Trollface

Re: Reputational injury @troland

Since it is now known that FB have been getting information from Android phones even if the user hasn't signed up to FB, the judgement should be for them to pay 500$ to every android user anywhere in the world. Hopefully that will shut the lying b**tards down for good.

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Re: Reputational injury

Most FB users are just like smokers: Hooked.

They don't care if it's damaging, or not.

Hmm...

/me is not going to go there.

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Re: Reputational injury @troland

"pay 500$ to every android user"

I have an Android phone with no FB on it, an Android partition on my test computer with FB installed, and both ARM and x86 Android on SD cards, so I can boot various devices into Android as needed. I could use a couple thousand dollars.

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Emphasis mine:

The firm had asked for a complete stay of the case, on the grounds of cost – both in terms of the trial being expensive and that it might result in a substantial award of damages

That is creative legal logic there... Please your honor, stay the case, I might be guilty and the resultant sentence might be nasty!

Somehow not surprised the judge dismissed that request.

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Who gots popcorn? Ah, CMOT Dibbler?

Mmmm, fresh and hot.

Thank you, there you go, have a nice day, kthanxbai.

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Who gots popcorn? Ah, CMOT Dibbler?

Mmmm, fresh and hot.

Thank you, there you go, have a nice day, kthanxbai

You'd buy popcorn from CMOT Dibbler?

Sober?

It might be corn, but only marginally 'popped' - and some of the kernels might not be corn at all (teeth, rat faeces)

Basically - Only if I had Cohens new teeth.

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Looks as though all of FB's chickens are coming home to roost.

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Ironic

The Facebooks, Apples, Samsungs and Microsofts of the world have secured their market dominance over more technically advanced products by using the Court systems and the price they charge for justice.

They have denied other people justice by abusing the system that means (in the vast majority of cases), the one with the most cash wins,

They can't then turn around and cry about it and not expect to be laughed at.

Its truly a shame that directors of companies that employ these tactics cant be given jail time.

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Re: Ironic

That's how it is with individuals, so why not with corporations? Or do you think the conviction rate of poor people accused of murder is the same as the conviction rate of millionaires accused of murder?

Certainly not saying it is a good thing, but it isn't something anyone should be surprised by. With deep pockets comes the ability to afford the best defense money can buy. Those with threadbare pockets have to take the guy who was almost disbarred or the guy freshly graduated at the bottom of his class.

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Re: Ironic

"Its truly a shame that directors of companies that employ these tactics cant be given jail time."

Or, at the very least, that the government remembers that corporations are special charters granted by the government at its pleasure -- and those charters can be revoked. This is the "corporate death penalty", and it used to be used to help keep corporations in check. It should be again.

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Big Brother

The real reason Facebook don't want to go to court is:

It's the largest spying network on the planet, with back-door access provided to NSA, FBI, CIA, and their British equivalents (at least).

They have totally un-fettered access to the largest global surveillance network there has ever been. If there is even the slightest chance that FB will no longer be able to store biometric data without explicit consent, then FB will be directed by the dark shadowy smoking-man types to stay the fuck out of court.

That's where this whole thing comes from.

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There's a little bit of me ...

... having a daydream about a modified Econoline rolling up to the Dark Tower Facebook HQ, industrious dwarves (for it is they) leaping out and briskly mounting a piece of exotic-looking plumbing athwart the van's roof, and then unleashing a thunderbolt of awesome and richly deserved EMP into the place.

Regrettably, most of the good stuff is held far away, but for the sheer satisfaction of rough justice ... (and apologies to Neal Stephenson) ... ahhh.

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Re: There's a little bit of me ...

"... having a daydream about a modified Econoline rolling up to the Dark Tower Facebook HQ, industrious dwarves (for it is they) leaping out and briskly mounting a piece of exotic-looking plumbing athwart the van's roof, and then unleashing a thunderbolt of awesome and richly deserved EMP into the place."

If I recall correctly, that was not a constructive move and scuppered Randy's attempt at more um, subtle action.

An upvote for the Cryptonomicon reference anyway.

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Facepalm

Re: There's a little bit of me ...

"If I recall correctly, that was not a constructive move and scuppered Randy's attempt at more um, subtle action."

On the other hand, my brain halts and catches fire every time I remember that the author in his infinite wisdom had Randy attempt to be "subtle" sitting with his laptop in his lap smack on the roof of his freaking car, right next to an obviously busy op-staging area...

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Re: There's a little bit of me ...

At the time it struck me as exactly the sort of thing Randy would do. He wanted to watch the circus while while he attempted to tamper with evidence. He could hardly have seen all the shenanigans if he'd been hiding in the back of the car, and by extension it couldn't be conveyed to the reader in nearly so entertaining a manner as this sequence is written from Randy's point of view.

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If they just went opt in

They could avoid all this. I remember years ago hearing about Facebook automatically tagging people - or maybe I got automatically tagged - and going right to the privacy settings to turn this (default on, of course) setting off.

Of course for all I know Facebook still recognizes me in others' photos, but it keeps that information to itself instead of offering to tag me.

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Re: If they just went opt in

Its worse than that, Jim.

I do not have a Facebook account but a "friend" tagged me in a photo years ago. Every now and again I find I am still getting auto-tagged despite her removing her original.

A shower of bastards.

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interesting angle

What counts as biometrics in this case? Is a photo or collection of photos of a known person considered to be holding biometric data? If so, then this net captures a lot of other businesses and indeed people.

Or does there have to be a conversion on those images to a series of measurements of ratios and angles between features before it is considered a biometric template. If so, does this mean that there are certain algorithms that are not permissible to run on a photo. Would smile and blink detection algorithms fall foul of such definitions.

Don't get me wrong, I'm hardly the person who would stick up for a massive advertising, tracking, manipulative company, but I have much bigger concerns about how they use such data to link people with other people in shadow profiles.

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Re: interesting angle

Not a lawyer although I do love tech-law. I've the feeling that on both sides of The Pond, those boundaries are going to have to come from the courts. If that's true, then there is going to be a whole lot of time before what constitutes biometrics is nailed down. Let alone determining what/where/when it all applies.

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I'm still laughing about the last time I uploaded a photo of me to Facebook. In it's infinite wisdom, Facebook tagged my right foot, and the lady sitting in my lap obscured my left foot. I guess that's fair enough, my profile photo is of my bare feet.

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