Instagram to Face an Astronomical Fine for Harvesting Personal Data

Instagram has been accused of illegally collecting on millions of people in a new lawsuit that could amount up to a half a trillion-dollar fine. The lawsuit claims that the Facebook-owned social network giant is guilty of harvesting biometric through its facial recognition feature.

The lawsuit says that Instagram has a tagging tool that scans people’s faces to create templates that are stored in its database. Although Instagram informs users of this feature in its terms of service, the lawsuit claims that the app collects this data even if no one uses the app or agrees with the terms of service.

The lawsuit alleges:

Once Facebook captures its Instagram users’ protected biometrics, it uses them to bolster its facial recognition abilities across all of its products, including the Facebook application, and shares this information among various entities. Facebook does all of this without providing any of the required notices or disclosures required by Illinois law.

Instagram could be fined up to $1000 per violation if proved guilty for breaking the Biometric Information Privacy Act. Additionally, if it is also proved that Facebook has been collecting data illegally and has acted irrationally, then the fine could go up to $5000.

This would make a total of more than $500 billion dollars in damages which is five times higher than the net worth of CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Facebook itself is worth roughly $740 billion dollars, which is not far from the fine. This would make it one of the biggest lawsuits filed against the social media giant ever.

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