Facebook faces new allegations of illegally harvesting Instagram user data

Facebook Inc. is facing new allegations that it illegally harvests the biometric data of users, this time in a lawsuit that targets the company’s photo-sharing app Instagram.

Last month, the social media company offered to pay $650 million to settle a lawsuit in which it was accused of illegally collecting biometric data through a photo-tagging tool provided to Facebook users.

In the new lawsuit, filed Monday in state court in Redwood City, California, the company is accused of collecting, storing and profiting from the biometric data of more than 100 million Instagram users, without their knowledge or consent.

The practice violates an Illinois privacy law that bars the unauthorized collection of biometric data, according to the lawsuit. Under the law a company can be forced to pay $1,000 per violation — or $5,000 if it’s found to have acted recklessly or intentionally.

Only at the beginning of this year did Facebook start informing Instagram users that it was collecting the biometric data, according to the suit.

The suit is Whalen v. Facebook, 20-civ-03346, Superior Court of California (Redwood City).

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