Facebook loses motion and new biometric privacy suits filed under BIPA
Facebook is a step closer to being forced to pay out damages which could reach $35 billion in a suit under Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act, after a decision by the ninth circuit court not to hold an ‘en banc’ (full court) hearing, TechCrunch reports.
The case can now only be stopped from going to trial by a Supreme Court intercession or a settlement between the parties.
A three-judge panel ruled earlier this year that the state supreme court decision in Rosenbach v Six Flags gives the suit against Facebook standing, while Facebook argued that the standing did not apply in federal court, and sought to make the same argument to the whole ninth circuit.
TechCrunch also reports that Facebook stock price dropped by 2.25 percent on Friday as news of the decision emerged.
The case was originally filed in 2015, and could lead to damages of between $1,000 and $5,000 for all 7 million Facebook users in Illinois, if a photo of them is on the social media platform. Some have argued that violations are not counted by the number of users, but rather the number of images scanned, in which case the total damages could theoretically be much higher than the above figure.
Siri sued under BIPA
With a wave of recent lawsuits filed under BIPA targeting not just the usual time and attendance systems but also home assistants like Alexa, it is little surprise that Apple is now facing a potential class action suit for biometric ‘voiceprints’ taken by smart devices running the company’s virtual assistant Siri, as reported by the Cook County Record.
Users enroll their voices with Siri by repeating a set of phrases as part of the set-up process, and according to the complaint, the user’s first 40 requests are also stored and analyzed.
An Illinois resident alleges that Apple is biometrically processing data from interactions with Siri without the required written consent from users. The company has also not provided information about its policies for storage of the data, as it is required to, according to the suit.
Casino rewards program members file suit
A potential class-action suit has also been filed against Harrah’s Casino in Joliet, Illinois, for using facial recognition for both security and customer incentive programs without meeting BIPA’s informed consent requirements, according to local news outlet Patch.
Both co-plaintiffs are members of the Caesars rewards program, and attended the casino without being informed in writing that their facial biometrics were being scanned, or giving their consent.
“Defendants use facial recognition technology with their video security cameras at their Illinois casinos,” the filing states. “Defendants’ facial recognition technology identifies a person by scanning the geometry of a person’s facial features and comparing that scan against databases of stored facial geometry templates.”
Joliet Harrah’s Surveillance Manager Bill Doolin praised the casino’s facial recognition system for its effectiveness catching cheaters on the Biometrica Systems website. The technology provider is not named in the suit.