California Federal Judge Certifies Privacy Class Action Lawsuit Against Facebook
On Monday, Judge Donato of the Northern District of California certified a class action suit against Facebook under the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA). The class is comprised of all Illinois Facebook users for whom Facebook created and stored a face template after June 7, 2011, through Facebook’s “Tag Suggestions” program. Through “Tag Suggestions,” Facebook scans uploaded photographs, identifies faces in photographs, and then suggests identified individuals’ names or automatically tags them. The plaintiffs allege that through this feature, Facebook violates BIPA by collecting users’ face geometry, a form of “biometric information,” without notice or consent. Under BIPA, each prevailing party may recover between $1,000 and $5,000 for each violation. Facebook has previously attempted to dismiss the suit, and purportedly has lobbied for amendments to BIPA that would loosen notice and consent requirements.
Trump Administration Loosens Restrictions on the Sale of Drones to Foreign Governments
On Thursday, the Trump Administration introduced a new policy that makes it easier for arms companies to sell drones overseas. Citing the role of defense contractors as a major job-creators, Trump issued a guidance document directing federal agencies to issue rules that, among other changes, require federal agencies to give greater weight to concerns about the vitality of the US drone industry in decisions to approve sales. Certain drone sales can now go through the “direct commercial sales” process, in which a company directly negotiates with a foreign government, rather than the more rigorous and time-consuming “foreign military sales” process, in which the U.S. government plays a more direct role in a sale. New rules are also supposed to streamline the weapons transfer process in other ways, such as by reclassifying drones with strike-enabling technology as “unarmed” in order to free them from the enhanced scrutiny previously applicable to sales of drones with strike-enabling capabilities.