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Apple hit with second biometric data privacy suit as BIPA settlements reached and debated

Apple hit with second biometric data privacy suit as BIPA settlements reached and debated

The pre-installed Photos app provided on Apple devices includes a facial recognition feature which collects and processes biometric data without satisfying the informed consent requirements people in Illinois are entitled to, a new proposed class action lawsuit spotted by ClassAction.org alleges.

The images, stored in iPhones and other Apple devices, represent collection of biometric data belonging to Illinois residents, including children, according to the suit Hazlitt et al. v. Apple Inc., which was filed in March. Apple has since removed the case from the Twentieth Circuit Court to the federal court for the Southern District of Illinois. The suit was removed because it meets both the threshold of 100 members in the putative class, and potential damages exceeding $5 million.

Apple is meanwhile facing a similar lawsuit over the alleged collection of voice biometrics by its virtual assistant Siri.

Near-$1M settlement reached

Flexicorps Inc. has settled a BIPA suit over biometrics-based employee time and attendance tracking by agreeing to pay $939,200 in damages, Top Class Actions reports. The company was accused of failing to meet the informed consent requirements of the Act.

The suit had previously been stayed pending a decision on standing by Illinois Supreme Court. Members of the class who wish to exclude themselves from the settlement have until June 15 to do so in writing.

Facebook accusers satisfied

Lawyers for plaintiffs in a BIPA case Facebook agreed to settle for $550 million say the amount “dwarfs every previous settlement” as they argue for its adequacy despite the concerns of the presiding judge.

Attorney suggest in a filing that with each class member receiving between $150 and $300, which is 15 to 30 percent of the possible recovery per claim, represents “excellent value,” according to Bloomberg.

U.S. District Judge James Donato of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals questioned why the settlement fails to meet the $1,000 minimum “benchmark” set out in the legislation.

Plaintiffs lawyers acknowledged that the award could be higher, but warned that the company “could make a persuasive case that such an award is disproportionate to any privacy harm caused by the Tag Suggestions or Face Recognition tool.”

The settlement also includes the deletion of class members’ biometric data, unless they opt in to the service.

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