After weeks of notoriety and backlash, Google has scored a legal victory allowing it to keep a close watch on users of Google products.
On Saturday, a U.S. District Judge in Chicago dismissed a lawsuit filled against the internet giant which alleged that Google violated users’ right to privacy by using facial recognition technology without their consent. The lawsuit, originally filed in 2016, was the result of the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act, one of the strictest biometric security laws in the nation. It requires tech companies to obtain explicit permission from Illinois citizens in order to make any biometric scans of their bodies.
Facebook and Snapchat are facing similar challenges from the law, but Google’s victory could signal a new era in the use and development of facial recognition technology.
In his dismissal of the case, U.S. District Judge Edmond E. Chang cited the lack of “concrete injuries.” In the legal realm this means either physical damage or damage to one’s reputation which actually exists. In short, Chang’s conclusion was that despite not asking permission, Google’s use of the plaintiff’s photos didn’t result in any physical harm or damage to their reputation and was therefore legal. The cases against Facebook and Snapchat are still pending, but Google’s win could provide lawyers with some ammunition in defending the other two tech giants.
Facial recognition technology may take center stage in increasingly common debates about the intersection of advanced technology and rights to personal privacy. Still, development continues despite the technology’s imperfections and warnings from other tech executives calling for stricter legal guidelines.
Facial recognition technology is becoming increasingly common in everyday life, cropping up at airports and even Taylor Swift concerts. Yet, as we continue to decide who has what right to our data and why, big technology companies are moving quickly to decide our future for themselves.
READ MORE: Google wins dismissal of facial recognition lawsuit over biometric privacy act [TheVerge]
More on facial recognition: Microsoft President Warns Of “1984” Facial Recognition Future