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Robbins Geller and Co-Lead Counsel Get Green Light to Take Facebook to Trial

May 15, 2018

On May 14, 2018, United States District Judge James Donato of the Northern District of California denied all summary judgment motions and ruled that the privacy class action alleging that Facebook collected data of up to six million users living in Illinois must be decided by a jury.

Initially filed in 2015, the case arises out of Facebook’s use of facial recognition software to extract unique biometric identifiers (i.e., scans of facial geometry) from photographs uploaded to its online social network. Plaintiffs allege that Facebook extracts this information without disclosure, and without first obtaining express written consent, in violation of the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act, 740 ILCS 14/1 et seq. (“BIPA”).

In the 10-page ruling, Judge Donato soundly rejected every remaining legal argument advanced by Facebook and made it clear that “the trial set for July 9, 2018, will go forward.”

“[I]t’s going to be up to a jury to decide if Facebook’s scanning and collection of facial geometry violates a statute that prohibits the scanning and collection of facial geometry,” Robbins Geller partner Paul J. Geller said. “The maxim ‘ignorance of the law is no defense’ is understood by most of us by middle school,” Geller added.

In re Facebook Biometric Info. Privacy Litig., No. 3:15-cv-03747-JD, Order re Summary Judgment Motions (N.D. Cal. May 14, 2018).

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