Instagram has been accused of illegally harvesting and storing over 100 million users’ biometric data, reports Bloomberg. The Facebook-owned video sharing app has apparently violated an Illinois privacy law – the Biometric Information Privacy Act – which prohibits the collection of a user’s biometric data without consent.
The class-action lawsuit was filed overnight in the state court in Redwood City, California and could see the social media giant paying out $5000 per data breach if a court determines that it acted recklessly or intentionally in doing so. Although, the base fine for each violation is $1000.
It is alleged that Instagram only began informing users that it was collecting their facial information at the start of this year. Just last month, Facebook settled for $650 million in a separate lawsuit which accused it of collecting biometric data through the Tag Suggestions feature on its main platform – although it which was up from $550 million agreed in January, reports Yahoo Finance.
Privacy and security issues relating to social media are of paramount concern at the moment, with a potential ban of Chinese-owned TikTok on the horizon and a crackdown on facial recognition technology.
According to Yahoo Finance, the European Commission warned about the dangers of facial recognition tools earlier this year, citing privacy violations, potential faults and the potential to aid and abet crime as the most prominent. However, due to a fear that banning this technology could obstruct innovation, the EU’s executive arm vetoed any attempt to put a stop to it.
While Facebook agreed to settle last month, it denied all allegations and are yet to comment on the most recent legal proceedings.