California residents file class action against Clearview AI biometric data collection citing CCPA

Biometrics to step in when CCPA kills the password, ImageWare exec says

Last month, Clearview AI was taken to court in California with a punitive class action by two residents from California and Illinois who claim the company illegally collected biometric information from online sources such as social networks, and used biometric facial recognition technology to develop a database it then sold to police units and private companies, reports JD Supra.

The plaintiffs say Clearview AI violated the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and the Illinois Biometric Privacy Act (BIPA) in its efforts to scrape biometric data, but have not actually filed the complaint under the CCPA. It is a “CCPA Class” filed by California resident who “had their California Biometric Information collected and/or used by Clearview AI without prior notice by Clearview and without their consent.”

The residents say Clearview AI also violated California’s Unfair Competition Law, Business & Professions Code § 17200 (UCL) because it “collected [plaintiffs’ and the class’] ‘personal information’ as defined in the CCPA and failed to inform [plaintiffs and the class] of the same at or before the point of collection.”

According to lawyers for Thompson Coburn LLP writing for JD Supra, it is not very clear whether the CCPA can be used to support a UCL claim, because CCPA stipulates that it forbids the use of ‘unlawful’ activity under the act as the basis for a right of action under a different law.

Clearview was already facing a pair of lawsuits under Illinois’ BIPA, and is being investigated for possible violations of Canadian law.

Recently, it was revealed that Clearview AI also went after mugshots from the past 15 years in the U.S. to improve the billions of images it scraped from social media sites and other internet sources for use in biometric facial recognition.

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