The 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said Thursday that Facebook users in Illinois can sue the company over its use of facial recognition technology.
A U.S. court has ruled that Facebook users in Illinois can sue the company over face recognition technology, meaning a class action can move forward.
According to the American Civil Liberties Union, it's the first decision by a U.S. appellate court to directly address privacy concerns posed by facial recognition technology.
"This decision is a strong recognition of the dangers of unfettered use of face surveillance technology," Nathan Freed Wessler, an attorney with the ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project, said in a statement.
"We have always disclosed our use of face recognition technology and that people can turn it on or off at any time," said Joe Osborne, a Facebook spokesman.
The case concerns Facebook users in Illinois who accused the social media giant of violating the state's Biometric Information Privacy Act.
Privacy advocates have long expressed concern that face recognition technology can be used for mass surveillance and to target protesters, setting a dangerous environment in countries where democracy is failing or never existed at all.