As part of today’s announcement, Facebook published a blog post titled “Hard Questions: Should I Be Afraid of Face Recognition Technology?” featuring the above video. Neither, however, mentioned the ongoing lawsuit against Facebook over its handling of user’s faceprints. Facebook is currently fighting off a class action suit in Illinois that argues the company violated the state’s Biometric Information Privacy Act. BIPA sets a certain threshold of transparency from companies that collect and store biometric data. Facebook, the suit alleges, doesn’t meet the threshold because it hasn’t full disclosed its intentions.

Adam Harvey, a counter-surveillance expert infamous for his anti-recognition makeup, spoke to Gizmodo back in October about Facebook’s push to integrate face data into authentication.

“When any information is co-opted for security puproses it becomes less secure to share,” Harvey said. “For example, sharing your mother’s maiden name online would not be a good idea. Likewise, Facebook’s proposed facial recognition product would make sharing your face online a security issue, even more so than it already is.”


Facebook already uses shadow profiles and algorithmic black boxes as part of its moneymaking strategies, sometimes in conjunction with police. Using Illinois’ BIPA law as a lens, users are ready to consider whether Facebook is living up to its side of the bargain when it comes to trading personal privacy for digital security. You can give Facebook your biometric data if you want, but you shouldn’t give them the benefit of the doubt.