US District Judge James Donato ruled Monday in San Francisco federal court that the lawsuit could progress with class action certification, finding the process will provide the most efficient resolution of the dispute over creating and storing of “face templates” based on facial features in uploaded photos.
A Facebook spokesperson said the company is “reviewing the ruling” and continues to believe “the case has no merit.”
The ruling is the latest in a mounting number of privacy headaches suffered in recent weeks by the social-networking giant since it disclosed that Cambridge Analytica, a political consultancy, had improperly .
Facebook has used facial recognition technology on photos posted to the site since 2010 to automatically detect and put names to faces. But the lawsuit alleges the feature violates Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act, a 2008 law that prohibits companies from collecting and storing the biometric data of people without their consent.
Facebook, which got the case moved to San Francisco from Illinois, argues that the data it collects isn’t covered by the Illinois law, which restricts collection of consumers’ fingerprints, “voice prints” and scans of “hand or face geometry.” Facebook has also noted that users can opt out of the feature.