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US Judge rejects Facebook’s plea over face-tagging photos

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ILLIONOIS — A US judge has rejected a solicitation by Facebook to toss out a civil suit accusing it of violating privacy with face-recognition software to help ‘tag’ people in pictures.

A lawsuit filed by three Illinois residents under the auspices of the state’s Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) can proceed, US District Court Judge James Donato said.

“The court accepts as true plaintiffs’ allegations that Facebook’s face-recognition technology involves a scan of face geometry that was done without plaintiffs’ consent,” he said in the ruling.

The suit accuses Facebook of unlawfully collecting and storing biometric data taken from faces in pictures ‘secretly and without consent’ for a feature that lets people “tag” friends by name at the social network.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs contend that Facebook is violating Illinois law because biometric identifiers in the form of facial geometry are gathered, stored and then used for tagging suggestions at the California-based social network without permission.

It appeared that legislators in Illinois passed BIPA to address emerging biometric technology, such as Facebook face-recognition software, at issue in the case, according to the judge.

Facebook had argued in a motion to dismiss that analysing uploaded photographs did not qualify as biometric data and that the Illinois law did not apply.

The leading social network had modified its terms of service to state that California law applies, but timing and circumstances permit the application of the Illinois act in the suit, the 24-page ruling said.

The suit, which seeks unspecified damages, comes as internet titans such as Facebook, Google, and others are investing heavily in artificial intelligence to better recognise, understand and cater to users of online offerings.

AFP

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NAC aims to bring more tourists

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KATHMANDU — Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) — the national flag carrier which bought two wide-body aircrafts — is exploring new destinations in Europe, North America and South East Asia to bring in more tourists to the country.

The NAC, with the new destinations, expects to increase its business and carry 400,000 tourists on board the NAC planes to Nepal every year.

The NAC’s move is expected to serve largely for the government’s announcement to mark 2020 as Nepal Visit Year.

The NAC is also planning to procure narrow-body planes that would make regional flights while the wide-body planes would fly to the new international destinations.

For the new destinations, the NAC has appointed issue manager.

With the agreement, the NAC planes would make flights to 14 destinations in a week. If things go as planned, the NAC planes would fly to Narita and Tokyo in Japan, easing the tourists visiting Nepal from there.

After getting approval from Japan and South Korea for flights, the inclusion in the significant safety concern list by the EU to Nepal would remove automatically while the flights to South Korea shall open up the golden door for Nepal Airlines.

South Korea is regarded as the safest country in the world in terms of civil aviation. Likewise, the ICAO has already removed Nepal from its blacklist.

Furthermore, the NAC is preparing to operate flights to bring in tourists from Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Indonesia and Vietnam.

Similarly, Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Rabindra Adhikari has directed the NAC for announcing new business plans by targeting the Indian and Chinese tourists, realizing the crucial role of the national flag carrier to make the Nepal Visit Year 2020 a success.

“Top priority has been given to the NAC as it is the major basis to bring in tourists,” Minister Adhikari shared.

Likewise, Minister Adhikari shared that expansion of services and facilities of the Tribhuvan International Airport has been prioritized.

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