Clearview AI seeks dismissal of biometric data privacy suit, says changes ensure compliance

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Voluntary changes to company policy make biometric data privacy violation allegations against Clearview AI moot, according to one of several arguments made in support of a motion to dismiss a potential class action reported by Law360.

The changes ensure that the Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act, which the suit is filed under, does not apply to Clearview, the company told Cook County Circuit Judge Pamela McLean Meyerson. The actions ensured that the collection of biometric data from Illinois residents by Clearview was prevented even before the suit was, the company says, and it canceled its contracts with all entities in the state, including police departments.

Clearview’s current operations in Illinois fall under BIPA’s government contractor exemption, and since the plaintiffs seek only injunctive relief, the “entire case is moot,” the company’s motion states.

The changes include avoiding processing the facial biometric data held on websites identified as being based in Illinois, and to avoid images with metadata associated with the state.

Several other independent factors are also cause for dismissal, Clearview argues. The court lacks jurisdiction, BIPA is unconstitutional, and Clearview’s alleged actions are protected under the First Amendment, Clearview claims.

ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project Attorney Vera Eidelman told Law360 that the capture of biometric data “is conduct, not speech,” and therefore not protected by the First Amendment.

The ACLU is one of numerous groups bringing suits against Clearview in New York and Chicago, which the company is attempting to have consolidated.

Floyd Abrams of Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP, one of Clearview’s representatives, told Law360 that that the creation and demonstration of information is protected, and is the source of the allegations against it.

The company argues that no actions causing alleged harm took place in Illinois, and the state was not the focus of its marketing efforts, making it beyond the reach of Illinois courts.

The advocacy organizations bringing the suit claim it is the first to address the harms of surveillance with facial recognition of vulnerable communities.

An attempt by Clearview to dismiss a biometric data privacy suit in Vermont was defeated in September.

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