Facebook reaches 550 million euros deal solve lawsuit accusing it of storing biometric data of its users

A US court has accepted a court agreement for which Facebook will pay 650 million dollars— about 550 million euros-after the social network was accused of storing biometric data of its users.

The owner of a Northern California court has accepted the offer of the social network giant for which the company Mark Zuckerberg agrees to pay this amount. Thus, it will resolve a lawsuit that was filed five years ago by several users of the social network in the US State of Illinois.

The lawsuit filed in 2015 warned that the social network had violated a state law that protects the privacy of its users, by storing biometric information of its users. Specifically, what the platform gathered were the faces of citizens, because it improved its algorithm with which the platform suggests tagging people in photos.

Illinois is one of the states in the U.S. with the most restrictive privacy laws, as detailed by the Chicago Tribune in this 2018 article. Finally, it was a Northern California court that began to hear the case. The plaintiffs ' lawyers already warned in May this year that each of the affected users could receive up to $ 300 from Facebook as compensation and out-of-court settlement.

At first, the social network Zuckerberg proposed a payment of $ 550 million. Last July, the firm improved its offer to 650 million, which at the current exchange is 550 million euros. Now, according to Bloomberg, the judge has accepted that amount.

The judge announced Wednesday his authorization, which will be ratified at a hearing to be held next January 7.

Facebook reaches 550 million euros deal solve lawsuit

Facial recognition is still the result of controversy. This 2020 several companies have announced that they will stop offering this technology at least to the police as a measure of pressure to resolve their racist biases and arrests under this type of technological systems. Microsoft, Amazon or IBM have been some of the firms that have announced that they will stop offering such solutions, and Google employees have requested the same from their CEO.

In Spain, Mercadona announced in a surprising way that it was installing facial recognition cameras in several of its supermarkets in order to prevent access to its stores people who have a court order to remove the establishment or some of its workers. However, it was not determined how the chain of stores would create the database with the faces of the people who would have their access vetoed. The EDPS initiated an investigation.

A few weeks ago it was also known that the Guardia Civil was considering testing this technology to control access to music festivals such as the Viñarock.

End of Facebook reaches 550 million euros deal solve lawsuit

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Bad news for back to school: New coronavirus study insists children spread the same as adults

"Children are not immune to this infection," is the clear conclusion of a new study published in the Journal of Pediatrics that investigates the incidence of coronavirus in minors.

The study, conducted at Massachusetts General Hospital and Mass General Hospital for Children, followed 192 patients aged 0-22 years, 49 of them infected with coronavirus, and ensures that minors have equal viral loads and even greater than those of adults.

Looking ahead to the return to school, the authors of the research highlight the importance of these findings by assuring that, although children with COVID - 19 are not as likely to get sick as adults, as asymptomatic carriers who go to school, can spread the infection and bring the virus to their homes.

"We have gone from thinking that children were protected to knowing that they do get infected," explains Quique Bassat, pediatrician and ICREA researcher at ISGlobal, a center promoted by la Caixa Foundation, to Business Insider Spain.

Bassat denies that minors are over-contagious, but says the evidence that minors are contagious just like adults is accumulating.

"During this COVID-19 pandemic, we have examined mainly symptomatic subjects, so we have come to the erroneous conclusion that the vast majority of infected people are adults. However, our results show that children are not protected against this virus, " says the recently published research.

Bassat is cautious about whether the age of minors influences their susceptibility to the virus. "There are several studies that ensure that children under the age of 10 are less contagious," he acknowledges.

In Iceland, a team of researchers tested 6% of the country's population for coronavirus. Of the more than 848 children who responded to an invitation to participate in a portion of the study, the team found no coronavirus infections in children under the age of 10, even with schools and kindergartens open at that time.

In the same vein, a study of 80% of the population of the Italian village of Vó found that no children aged 10 years or younger contracted the virus there, although at least 13 of them lived with infected family members.

"Although it may have some logic in the sense that the body of a teenager is more like that of an adult, we still do not know," Bassat warns. The doctor himself participated in a study at Hospital Sant Joan de Déu Barcelona that investigated the contacts of primary cases and determined that children exposed to the virus are as likely to be infected as an adult.

Although it has been established that children are equally contagious, there also seems to be a consensus around the theory that children are less contagious.

"Probably their transmission capacity is lower," acknowledges Bassat, who explains that of all the outbreaks investigated, none are usually initiated by a child. However, he himself warns of a bias in this reasoning: "most children are asymptomatic and in an outbreak the index patient is identified according to who was the first person to develop disease".

The explanation for why they may be less likely to transmit it is unclear. "At first it was thought that minors had less viral load, but we are seeing that it really is similar," explains Bassat, which confirms the new study.

In fact, the research claims that infected children had a significantly higher level of virus in their airways than adults hospitalized in ICUs for the treatment of COVID - 19 and warns that "the risk of contagion is higher with a high viral load."

Bassat adventure a possible cause of children's reduced transmission capacity. "It probably has to do with the ability to clinically express the disease," he notes. That is, there are symptoms of the disease, such as cough, which increase the chances of catching someone else. Children tend to be asymptomatic, so this could reduce their ability to spread.

The scientific evidence surrounding children and coronavirus remains limited in all fields and the researcher points out the questions that would be most important to clear.

"We should understand what are the factors that predispose some children to seriously ill or even suffer Kawasaki-like syndrome," reflects the pediatrician. "Fortunately they are few, but they are there," he concludes.

It should also be understood exactly whether the lower presence of ACE-2 receptors in minors or cross-immunity from increased exposure to SARS-Cov-2-like coronaviruses makes them more protected against the virus. "It's a plausible explanation, but the reality is that we don't know," Bassat warns. The doctor believes that a large study focused on how coronavirus affects pediatric patients is still needed.

In fact, the new study published in the journal Pediatrics makes an interesting discovery related to the presence of ACE-2 receptors, assuring that although younger children have fewer virus receptors than older children and adults, this does not correlate with a decrease in viral load.

Nevertheless, Bassat says that both pediatricians and educators agree that the return to face school is necessary and it is possible to ensure that it is done safely if the recommended measures are applied.

The doctor points out the case of Israel, which has had to close many schools shortly after organizing the return to the classrooms. "They have not followed the recommendations, but things can be done well," says Bassat.

"What it takes to get back to school is to respect the virus and take it seriously," the expert concludes.

For their part, the authors of the study recommend not relying on temperature controls to students and prioritize social distancing, the use of masks, hand hygiene protocols and combine face-to-face with virtual education.

"If schools are reopened completely without the necessary precautions, children are likely to play a greater role in this pandemic," the authors conclude.

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