Justices decline facial recognition case

The Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to take up a high-profile court battle over whether users can sue Facebook for using facial recognition technology on their photos without proper consent.

The high court rejected Facebook’s bid to review the case, meaning the social media giant will likely have to face the multibillion-dollar class-action lawsuit over whether it violated an Illinois privacy law.

The case, Facebook vs. Patel, hinges on a question over whether Facebook violated Illinois law when it implemented a photo-tagging feature that recognized users’ faces and suggested their names without obtaining adequate consent. Facebook argued to the Supreme Court that the class-action case should not be allowed to proceed because the group of users have not proven that the alleged privacy violation resulted in “real-world harm.”

“Although plaintiffs claim that their privacy interests have been violated, they have never alleged — much less shown — that they would have done anything differently, or that their circumstances would have changed in any way, if they had received the kind of notice and consent they alleged that [the Illinois law] requires, rather than the disclosures that Facebook actually provided to them,” Facebook wrote in its petition.