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Paul Merrell

Google, Amazon Face Shareholder Revolt Over Israeli Defense Work - 0 views

  • Google and Amazon are both set to help build “Project Nimbus,” a mammoth new cloud computing project for the Israeli government and military that is spurring intense dissent among employees and the public alike. Shareholders of both firms will soon vote on resolutions that would mandate reconsideration of a project they fear has grave human rights consequences. Little is known of the plan, reportedly worth over $1 billion, beyond the fact that it would consolidate the Israeli government’s public sector cloud computing needs onto servers housed within the country’s borders and subject solely to Israeli law, rather than remote data centers distributed around the world. Part of the plan’s promise is that it would insulate Israel’s computing needs from threats of international boycotts, sanctions, or other political pressures stemming from the ongoing military occupation of Palestine; according to a Times of Israel report, the terms of the Project Nimbus contract prohibit both companies from shutting off service to the government, or from selectively excluding certain government offices from using the new domestic cloud.
  • While a wide variety of government ministries will make use of the new computing power and data storage, the fact that Google and Amazon may be directly bolstering the capabilities of the Israeli military and internal security services has generated alarm from both human rights observers and company engineers. In October 2021, The Guardian published a letter from a group of anonymous Google and Amazon employees objecting to their company’s participation. “This technology allows for further surveillance of and unlawful data collection on Palestinians, and facilitates expansion of Israel’s illegal settlements on Palestinian land,” the letter read. “We cannot look the other way, as the products we build are used to deny Palestinians their basic rights, force Palestinians out of their homes and attack Palestinians in the Gaza Strip — actions that have prompted war crime investigations by the international criminal court.” In March, an American Google employee who had helped organize the employee opposition to Nimbus said the company abruptly told her she could either move to Brazil or lose her job, a move she said was retaliation for her stance. Nimbus will now face a referendum of sorts among Google and Amazon shareholders, who next month will vote on a pair of resolutions that call for company-funded reviews of their participation in that project and others that might harm human rights.
Paul Merrell

Big Tech companies appeal to Supreme Court to strike down Texas law banning political c... - 0 views

  • Facebook and Google are among multiple Big Tech companies seeking to have Texas’ new law banning political censorship on social media axed by the Supreme Court. According to The Washington Post, advocacy groups NetChoice and the Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA) filed an emergency application with the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday on behalf of Facebook, Google and other Big Tech companies, with the intention of striking down the new Texas law that prohibits censorship based on political ideology on social media. In a statement about the emergency filing, NetChoice counsel Chris Marchese argues that the Texas law, which went into effect last Wednesday, “strips private online businesses of their speech rights, forbids them from making constitutionally protected editorial decisions, and forces them to publish and promote objectionable content.”
  • “Left standing, [the Texas law] will turn the First Amendment on its head — to violate free speech, the government need only claim to be ‘protecting’ it,” Marchese added. Under the law, Texas residents and the state’s attorney general would be permitted to sue social media companies based in the United States if they believe their social media accounts were censored based on their political views. While the law was initially blocked by a federal district judge after it was signed last September by Texas Gov. Greg Abbot, the injunction was ultimately lifted by an appeals court last Wednesday. Big Tech companies have been consistently charged with weaponizing their “Terms of Service” agreements with users in an effort to ban or censor those expressing traditionally conservative or right-wing views on their extremely large and influential platforms.
Paul Merrell

Facebook, Instagram could shut down in Europe over data transfer - 0 views

  • Meta could shut down Facebook and Instagram throughout Europe if regulators are unable to hammer out a permanent data transfer deal, the company warned in a recent SEC filing. The claim from Mark Zuckerberg’s company came as officials in the European Union and US attempt to craft a new trans-Atlantic data transfer agreement. The EU’s Court of Justice struck down a previous agreement, dubbed Privacy Shield, in 2020, due to concerns it could not ensure data security for Europeans once it is sent to the US. Without a transnational deal in place, Meta could face legal and regulatory obstacles when it transfers user data, which plays a key role in its lucrative advertising business that comprises the bulk of the company’s annual revenue. “If a new transatlantic data transfer framework is not adopted and we are unable to continue to rely on SCCs (standard contractual clauses) or rely upon other alternative means of data transfers from Europe to the United States, we will likely be unable to offer a number of our most significant products and services, including Facebook and Instagram, in Europe,” Meta officials said in the filing.
Paul Merrell

Four Attorneys General Sue Google Over Privacy Claims - The New York Times - 0 views

  • Three states and the District of Columbia allege that the tech giant misled consumers by continuing to track those who had changed their privacy settings to prevent data collection.
  • Google is also fighting an antitrust lawsuit led by Texas in which states have accused the company of obtaining and abusing a monopoly over the systems that allow publishers to auction off ad space to marketers. On Friday, Google asked a federal court to dismiss the lawsuit.The lawsuits add to a mounting offensive by regulators to curtail the power and business practices of Silicon Valley giants like Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple. State and federal regulators have filed dozens of antitrust, consumer protection, privacy and trade lawsuits in an attempt to curb the business models or break up the companies. A Senate committee last week advanced potentially landmark antitrust legislation that tries to weaken the dominance of the internet giants.
Paul Merrell

China's quantum satellite enables first totally secure long-range messages - 1 views

  • In the middle of the night, invisible to anyone but special telescopes in two Chinese observatories, satellite Micius sends particles of light to Earth to establish the world’s most secure communication link. Named after the ancient Chinese philosopher also known as Mozi, Micius is the world’s first quantum communications satellite and has, for several years, been at the forefront of quantum encryption. Scientists have now reported using this technology to reach a major milestone: long-range secure communication you could trust even without trusting the satellite it runs through. Launched in 2016, Micius has already produced a number of breakthroughs under its operating team led by Pan Jian-Wei, China’s “Father of Quantum”. The satellite serves as the source of pairs of entangled photons, twinned light particles whose properties remain intertwined no matter how far apart they are. If you manipulate one of the photons, the other will be similarly affected at the very same moment.
  • It is this property that lies in the heart of the most secure forms of quantum cryptography, the entanglement-based quantum key distribution. If you use one of the entangled particles to create a key for encoding messages, only the person with the other particle can decode them.
  • Secure long-distance links such as this one will be the foundation of the quantum internet, the future global network with added security powered by laws of quantum mechanics, unmatched by classical cryptographic methods. The launch of Micius and the records set by the scientists and engineers building quantum communication systems with its help have been compared to the effect Sputnik had on the space race in the 20th century. In a similar way, the quantum race has political and military implications that are hard to ignore.
Paul Merrell

Senate to mark up antitrust bills targeting Apple, Google and Amazon - 0 views

  • The Senate Judiciary Committee is set to deliberate on the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, which some experts consider to have the most realistic chance of becoming law out of broad slate of reforms, while creating major change in the industry. The committee schedule also lists a markup of the Open App Markets Act, another bipartisan competition bill.Both bills would prevent certain dominant tech platforms from favoring their own products or services over others that rely on their marketplaces to do business. But the Open App Markets Act’s impact would primarily be limited to those that run app stores, like Apple and Google, while the American Innovation and Choice Online Act would be more expansive, potentially preventing a company like Amazon from giving its own private label products a better ranking in its search than a third-party competitor.Apple and Google could similarly be barred from unfairly ranking their own apps above competitors’ in their mobile app stores, and for Google, the same principle would apply to its general search engine as well
Paul Merrell

Google and Facebook fined $240 million for making cookies hard to refuse | Malwarebytes... - 0 views

  • French privacy watchdog, the Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL), has hit Google with a 150 million euro fine and Facebook with a 60 million euro fine, because their websites—google.fr, youtube.com, and facebook.com—don’t make refusing cookies as easy as accepting them. The CNIL carried out an online investigation after receiving complaints from users about the way cookies were handled on these sites. It found that while the sites offered buttons for allowing immediate acceptance of cookies, the sites didn’t implement an equivalent solution to let users refuse them. Several clicks were required to refuse all cookies, against a single one to accept them. In addition to the fines, the companies have been given three months to provide Internet users in France with a way to refuse cookies that’s as simple as accepting them. If they don’t, the companies will have to pay a penalty of 100,000 euros for each day they delay.
  • EU data protection regulators’ powers have increased significantly since the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) took effect in May 2018. This EU law allows watchdogs to levy penalties of as much as 4% of a company’s annual global sales. The restricted committee, the body in charge of sanctions, considered that the process regarding cookies affects the freedom of consent of Internet users and constitutes an infringement of the French Data Protection Act, which demands that it should be as easy to refuse cookies as to accept them. Since March 31, 2021, when the deadline set for websites and mobile applications to comply with the new rules on cookies expired, the CNIL has adopted nearly 100 corrective measures (orders and sanctions) related to non-compliance with the legislation on cookies.
Paul Merrell

'Major Win': Judge Says Suit to Break Up Facebook Empire Can Proceed - 0 views

  • A federal judge ruled Tuesday that the Federal Trade Commission's revised antitrust lawsuit against Meta Platforms, the parent company of Facebook, can move forward—a potentially significant blow to the social media empire, which sought to have the case dismissed.In an amended complaint filed last August, the FTC provided additional data and stronger details to back up its allegations that Facebook has maintained a monopoly on social networking services for the past decade by "illegally acquiring innovative competitors and burying successful app developers."U.S. District Judge James Boasberg—who in June dismissed the FTC's first antitrust complaint against Facebook, calling it "legally insufficient"—wrote in Tuesday's ruling that the evidence in the agency's second filing is "far more robust and detailed than before."
Paul Merrell

Russian court slaps Google, Meta with massive fines - Taipei Times - 1 views

  • A Moscow court on Friday slapped Google with a nearly US$100 million fine and also fined Facebook Inc’s parent company Meta Platforms Inc US$27 million over their failure to delete content banned by local law, as Russia seeks to step up pressure on technology giants. The Tagansky District Court ruled that Google repeatedly neglected to remove the banned content, and ordered the company to pay an administrative fine of 7.2 billion rubles (US$97.7 million).
  • Later on Friday, the court also slapped a fine of nearly 2 billion rubles on Meta for failure to remove banned content. Russian courts had this year imposed smaller fines on Google, Facebook and Twitter Inc, and Friday’s rulings were the first time that the size of the fines were calculated based on revenue. Russian state communications watchdog Roskomnadzor said that Google and Meta were specifically accused of contravening a ban on distributing content that promotes extremist ideology, insults religious beliefs and encourages dangerous behavior by minors, among other things.
Paul Merrell

Facebook's Zuckerberg Called Out by The BMJ for 'Incompetent' Fact Check on Pfizer Stor... - 0 views

  • The BMJ asked Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg to remove a warning that discourages Facebook users from sharing an article about flaws in Pfizer’s COVID vaccine trial, saying the platform’s “incompetent” fact checkers are unfaily labeling stories as false. In an open letter Friday, The BMJ editors explained how some readers are unable to post its Nov. 2 article on Facebook. Other readers have received pop-up warnings that if they choose to share “false information,” their posts may rank lower in Facebook’s news feed.
  • “We find the ‘fact check’ performed by Lead Stories to be inaccurate, incompetent and irresponsible,” wrote The BMJ editors Fiona Godlee and Kamran Abbasi. “It fails to provide any assertions of fact that The BMJ article got wrong.” The BMJ article last month documented a host of poor practices that may have hurt data integrity and patient safety in the Phase 3 trial for Pfizer’s COVID vaccine. A whistleblower had supplied The BMJ with internal company documents, photos, audio recordings and e-mails from a contract research company overseeing some trial sites. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration declined to inspect the affected sites despite receiving a direct complaint in 2020, The BMJ said. Pfizer’s vaccine, called Comirnaty, received approval in August 2021. “There is also a wider concern that we wish to raise,” The BMJ wrote in its letter to Zuckerberg. “We are aware that The BMJ is not the only high quality information provider to have been affected by the incompetence of Meta’s fact checking regime.”
  • Facebook isn’t Lead Stories’ only client. The company also works for Google, ByteDance (TikTok’s owner) and the Poynter Institute for Media Studies. The fact checker’s stated mission is to “hunt for trending stories, images, videos and posts that contain false information in order to fact check them as quickly as possible.” The BMJ urged Zuckerberg to act swiftly, “specifically to correct the error relating to The BMJ’s article and to review the processes that led to the error; and generally to reconsider your investment in and approach to fact checking overall.”
Paul Merrell

CPSC files lawsuit against Amazon to force it to recall dangerous products, including f... - 0 views

  • Federal safety regulators filed a lawsuit against Amazon on Wednesday that accuses the retail giant of refusing to recognize regulators’ authority to force the company to recall defective and unsafe products, setting up a fight over how much responsibility Amazon should take for the products it sells on its website.Support our journalism. Subscribe today.arrow-rightThe action by the Consumer Product Safety Commission comes after months of behind-the-scenes negotiations between regulators and Amazon as the agency tried to persuade the company to follow the CPSC’s rules for getting dangerous products off the market, according to a senior agency official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to comment on internal discussions.The official said Amazon officials refused to acknowledge that the CPSC has the authority to compel the company to remove unsafe products.A lawsuit was viewed as a last resort, the official added.
Paul Merrell

Google fined €500m by French competition authority - BBC News - 1 views

  • Google has been hit with a €500m (£427m) fine by France's competition authority for failing to negotiate "in good faith" with news organisations over the use of their content.The authority accused Google of not taking an order to do so seriously.Google told the BBC the decision "ignores our efforts to reach an agreement".The fine is the latest skirmish in a global copyright battle between tech firms and news organisations.Last year, the French competition authority ordered that Google must negotiate deals with news organisations to show extracts of articles in search results, news and other services.Google was fined because, in the authority's view, it failed to do this. In 2019, France became the first EU country to put a new Digital Copyright Directive into law. The law governed so-called "neighbouring rights" which are designed to compensate publishers and news agencies for the use of their material.As a result, Google decided it would not show content from EU publishers in France, on services like search and news, unless publishers agreed to let them do so free of charge.News organisations felt this was an abuse of Google's market power, and two organisations representing press publishers and Agence France-Presse (AFP) complained to the competition authority.
Paul Merrell

Google Sued By 36 States, DC Over Alleged Antitrust Violations | ZeroHedge - 0 views

  • Google on Wednesday was hit by a lawsuit from a group of state attorneys over alleged violation of antitrust laws by its Android app store.
  • Attorneys general for 36 states and the District of Columbia sued the Big Tech company in a 144-page complaint filed in a Northern California federal court. The group alleges that Google’s Play store for Android apps violates antitrust laws.The complaint centers on the control Google is able to exert on its Play store, allowing it to collect commissions of up to 30 percent on digital transactions within apps installed on Android-powered smartphones. Those devices represent more than 80 percent of the worldwide smartphone market.Led by Utah, North Carolina, Tennessee, New York, Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, and Nebraska, it marks the fourth major antitrust lawsuit filed by U.S. government agencies against the company since October 2020.Other lawsuits filed against Google include a complaint filed by a bipartisan coalition of states, and one filed by the Department of Justice. It echoes allegations made against the company by mobile game maker Epic Games in August 2020. That case is awaiting trial.The complaint contends that Google has deployed various tactics and set up anticompetitive barriers to ensure it distributes more than 90 percent of the apps on Android devices—a market share that the attorneys general argue represents an illegal monopoly. It also alleges Google has been abusing that power to reap billions of dollars in profit at the expense of consumers, who wind up paying higher prices to subsidize the commissions, and the makers of apps who have less money and incentive to innovate.
Paul Merrell

Ohio's attorney general wants Google to be declared a public utility. - The New York Times - 2 views

  • Ohio’s attorney general, Dave Yost, filed a lawsuit on Tuesday in pursuit of a novel effort to have Google declared a public utility and subject to government regulation.The lawsuit, which was filed in a Delaware County, Ohio court, seeks to use a law that’s over a century old to regulate Google by applying a legal designation historically used for railroads, electricity and the telephone to the search engine.“When you own the railroad or the electric company or the cellphone tower, you have to treat everyone the same and give everybody access,” Mr. Yost, a Republican, said in a statement. He added that Ohio was the first state to bring such a lawsuit against Google.If Google were declared a so-called common carrier like a utility company, it would prevent the company from prioritizing its own products, services and websites in search results.AdvertisementContinue reading the main storyGoogle said it had none of the attributes of a common carrier that usually provide a standardized service for a fee using public assets, such as rights of way.The “lawsuit would make Google Search results worse and make it harder for small businesses to connect directly with customers,” José Castañeda, a Google spokesman, said in a statement. “Ohioans simply don’t want the government to run Google like a gas or electric company. This lawsuit has no basis in fact or law and we’ll defend ourselves against it in court.”Though the Ohio lawsuit is a stretch, there is a long history of government control of certain kinds of companies, said Andrew Schwartzman, a senior fellow at the nonprofit Benton Institute for Broadband & Society. “Think of ‘The Canterbury Tales.’ Travelers needed a place to stay and eat on long road treks, and innkeepers were not allowed to deny them accommodations or rip them off,” he said.
  • After a series of federal lawsuits filed against Google last year, Ohio’s lawsuit is part of a next wave of state actions aimed at regulating and curtailing the power of Big Tech. Also on Tuesday, Colorado’s legislature passed a data privacy law that would allow consumers to opt out of data collection.On Monday, New York’s Senate passed antitrust legislation that would make it easier for plaintiffs to sue dominant platforms for abuse of power. After years of inaction in Congress with tech legislation, states are beginning to fill the regulatory vacuum.Editors’ PicksThe Abandoned Houses of Instagram21 Easy Summer Dinners You’ll Cook (or Throw Together) on Repeat‘King Richard’ Finds Fresh Drama in WatergateAdvertisementContinue reading the main storyAdvertisementContinue reading the main storyOhio was also one of 38 states that filed an antitrust lawsuit in December accusing Google of being a monopoly and using its dominant position in internet search to squeeze out smaller rivals.
Paul Merrell

House Committee Passes 'Big Tech' Antitrust Package Despite Lobbying Onslaught | ZeroHedge - 0 views

  • As the DoJ and FTC pursue civil antitrust litigation against some of America's largest tech firms, a House Committee has approved legislation to curb the market dominance of many of these same firms, including Google-owner Alphabet and Facebook. However, according to a report from WSJ, the tech firms targeted by the legislation are ramping up their lobbying efforts, precipitating a pitched battle over the legislation in the Senate.At the core of the six-bill raft of legislation is a measure to bar big tech firms from favoring their own products on their platforms. It was approved by the House committee early Thursday by a vote of 24 to 20.The NYT reported that Apple and other tech giants engaged in aggressive lobbying against the six-bill package, with Apple CEO Tim Cook going so far as to call Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other top lawmakers to warn them against supporting the legislation. Per the NYT, the calls from Cook were "part of a forceful and wide-ranging pushback by the tech industry since the proposals were announced this month. Executives, lobbyists, and more than a dozen think tanks and advocacy groups paid by tech companies have swarmed Capitol offices, called and emailed lawmakers and their staff members, and written letters arguing there will be dire consequences for the industry and the country if the ideas become law."
  • Mirroring the outcome of several EU anti-trust investigations, the legislation, known as the "American Choice and Innovation Online Act," the legislation would prohibit the owners of big platforms (like Amazon's online marketplace) from creating disadvantages for goods and services provided by competitors.
Paul Merrell

Break up Amazon? Seattle Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal takes on tech giants | The Seatt... - 0 views

  • As a general rule, politicians don’t pick fights with their state’s biggest private employers, but Seattle Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal is doing just that, sponsoring legislation that would break up Amazon.Jayapal’s Ending Platform Monopolies Act is part of a broader, bipartisan effort in Congress to rein in the power of the Big Four tech giants: Amazon, Facebook, Apple and Google.Following up on a 16-month antitrust investigation completed last fall, House lawmakers this month unveiled five antitrust bills aimed at checking the power of the companies by limiting their abilities to gobble up or hamstring competitors.Jayapal’s proposal would allow the federal government to sue to force the Big Four tech firms to sell off lines of business deemed a “conflict of interest.” That would mean Amazon could no longer run its marketplace for third-party sellers while also competing against them with its own products. Similar divestments would be required of the other top tech firms, and all could face massive daily fines for noncompliance.
  • The focus on today’s ubiquitous big tech giants in some ways echoes past antitrust confrontations in the U.S. In the 1980s, the federal government forced the breakup of the Bell System phone monopoly. In the late 1990s, the U.S. sought to bust up Microsoft over its PC market stranglehold — a battle that ended in a 2002 settlement curbing some of its practices.The Big Four have inspired blowback from across the political spectrum, though not always for the same reasons. All five of the House bills rolled out last week had both Democratic and Republican co-sponsors — producing some unusual alliances.
Paul Merrell

Amazon will pay $62 million over deceptive delivery tips claims - Protocol - The people... - 0 views

  • Amazon will pay almost $62 million to settle allegations by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission that it avoided handing over the full pay and tips it promised to delivery drivers, according to the agency.The company is giving back the amount it kept, according to a complaint released earlier this year by the agency, after it told Amazon Flex drivers and customers in 2015 it would pay $18 to $25 hourly plus tips. Instead, beginning the following year, it used tips to supplement lower base pay rates, and tried to hide the changes, according to the FTC."For a period of over two and a half years, without consumers' permission, Amazon secretly used nearly a third of customer tips to subsidize its own pay to drivers," the FTC had found.Under the 20-year settlement, Amazon will also need consent from drivers to change their pay scheme. All commissioners voted unanimously to approve the settlement.
Paul Merrell

Facebook's Marketplace Faces Antitrust Probes in EU, U.K. - WSJ - 0 views

  • The European Union and the U.K. opened formal antitrust investigations into Facebook Inc.’s FB -0.86% classified-ads service Marketplace, ramping up regulatory scrutiny for the company in Europe. Both the European Commission—the EU’s top antitrust enforcer—and the U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority said Friday they are investigating whether Facebook repurposes data it gathers from advertisers who buy ads in order to give illegal advantages to its own services, including its Marketplace online flea market. The U.K. added that it is also investigating whether Facebook uses advertiser data to give similar advantages to its online-dating service. The two competition watchdogs said they would coordinate their investigations.
  • Separately on Friday, Germany’s competition regulator announced that it is opening an investigation into Google’s News Showcase, in which the tech company pays to license certain content from news publishers. That probe, which is based on new powers Germany had granted the regulator, will look among other things at whether Google is imposing unfair conditions on publishers and how it selects participants, the Federal Cartel Office said.
  • The three newly opened cases are part of a new wave of antitrust enforcement in Europe. The European Commission filed formal charges last month against Apple Inc. for allegedly abusing its control over the distribution of music-streaming apps, including Spotify Technology SA . In November, it filed formal charges against Amazon.com Inc. for allegedly using nonpublic data it gathers from third-party sellers to unfairly compete against them. Both companies denied wrongdoing. At the same time, the U.K.’s CMA has opened investigations into Google’s announcement that it will retire third-party cookies, a technology advertisers use to track web users, and whether Apple imposes anticompetitive conditions on some app developers, including the use of Apple’s in-app payment system, which is also the subject of a lawsuit in the U.S. In the EU, the European Commission has been investigating Facebook for more than a year on multiple fronts. Facebook and the Commission have squabbled over access to internal documents as part of those investigations.
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  • New York State Attorney General Letitia James outlined in December a sweeping antitrust suit against Facebook by the Federal Trade Commission and a bipartisan group of 46 state attorneys general, targeting the company’s tactics against competitors. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images (Video from 12/9/20)
Paul Merrell

Google to Stop Selling Ads Based on Your Specific Web Browsing - WSJ - 2 views

  • Google plans to stop selling ads based on individuals’ browsing across multiple websites, a change that could hasten upheaval in the digital advertising industry. The Alphabet Inc. company said Wednesday that it plans next year to stop using or investing in tracking technologies that uniquely identify web users as they move from site to site across the internet. The decision, coming from the world’s biggest digital advertising company, could help push the industry away from the use of such individualized tracking, which has come under increasing criticism from privacy advocates and faces scrutiny from regulators. Google’s heft means the change could reshape the digital ad business, where many companies rely on tracking individuals to target their ads, measure the ads’ effectiveness and stop fraud. Google accounted for 52% of last year’s global digital ad spending of $292 billion, according to Jounce Media, a digital ad consultancy.
Paul Merrell

Facebook agrees to $650M settlement to end Illinois privacy lawsuit | AppleInsider - 0 views

  • A judge has approved a settlement valued at $650 million from Facebook to end a privacy lawsuit, one which alleged the social network used facial recognition technology on user photos stored on its iPhone app without permission. The lawsuit, which started in April 2015, alleged Facebook did not gain consent from users to use its facial tagging features on their photographs. Originally filed by Chicago attorney Jay Edelson on behalf of plaintiff Carlo Licata, the complaint claimed the consent-less tagging was not allowed under privacy laws in Illinois. The case originated in Cook County Circuit Court before moving to Chicago federal court then California, reports the Chicago Tribune. On reaching California, the lawsuit attained class-action status. The class in question constitutes approximately 6.9 million Facebook users in Illinois that Facebook created and stored a face template for after June 7, 2011. Close to 1.6 million claim forms were filed ahead of the November 23 deadline for joining, making up roughly 22% of potential class members. Facebook went against the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act, the complaint alleged, which is among the toughest privacy laws in the United States. Part of the act requires companies to gain permission from users before being able to start using biometric systems with their data, which includes facial recognition systems.
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