A recent lawsuit filed in San Francisco claims that Facebook, which owns Instagram, has been spying on the actions of its users through their cellphone cameras, even when they are turned off, Breitbart reported.
The lawsuit was filed by a New Jersey user who alleges that Instagram accessed her iPhone camera intentionally to collect valuable and “lucrative and valuable data on its users that it would not otherwise have access to.”
Brittany Conditi said in her lawsuit that by “obtaining extremely private and intimate personal data on their users, including in the privacy of their own homes,” Instagram and Facebook are able to collect “valuable insights and market research.”
Facebook denies the allegations and says it was a bug that generated a false notification on the iPhone that the camera was being accessed but this has now been corrected.
But this is not the first time the tech giant has been sued for similar issues. In January of this year, Facebook was sued in Illinois for harvesting biometric data from its users and had to pay $550 million in compensation. The case raised concerns about what is now considered “biometric privacy,” according to a Breitbart article.
Biometrics are physical or behavioral human characteristics that can be used to digitally identify a person to grant access to systems, devices, or data. Examples of these biometric identifiers are fingerprints, facial patterns, and voice or typing cadence.
Last month Facebook was again reported for using facial recognition technology to illegally collect biometric data from more than 100 million users on Instagram, according to a previous Breitbart report.
Plaintiff attorney in this case, Dr. Jay Edelson said, “Biometrics is one of the two primary battlegrounds, along with geolocation, that will define our privacy rights for the next generation.”