Google argues alleged biometric privacy violations not covered by Illinois state law

Courts grant venue change, dismissal in other biometrics lawsuits
Google argues alleged biometric privacy violations not covered by Illinois state law

Google has filed a motion to dismiss claims against it under Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) from federal court on grounds that no relevant action is alleged to have been carried out in the state, MediaPost reports.

The company moved for dismissal in September, with the plaintiffs’ representatives countering that the initial uploading of photos was carried out in Illinois. The images in question were uploaded to Flickr from Illinois, before being processed by IBM for the Diversity in Faces dataset, which Google later accessed. Taking, uploading or storing a photo is not restricted by BIPA, however, the tech giant’s lawyers argue.

A separate BIPA claim against Google is currently pending before the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

School bus driver case venue change

School bus company First Student has had a BIPA suit against it removed to the federal court for the Northern District of Illinois from Cook County, according to a court filing published by Bloomberg Law.

The suit alleges a failure to comply with BIPA’s informed consent requirements, including its data storage and deletion schedule rule, and a rule against improper sharing biometric information with third parties. The plaintiffs seek class action certification.

The suit was removed to federal court because it involves at least 100 plaintiffs residing in a different state than the defendant, and the potential damages could reach $5 million, placing it in federal jurisdiction under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA).

First Student employs more than 6,000 people in 40 locations across Illinois, at least 2,214 of whom have gone through fingerprint background checks, according to the document. The plaintiffs allege six different violations of BIPA.

Accused patent troll defeated

Beyond BIPA, an intellectual property lawsuit alleging that a protected method for verifying the identity of a credit card user with biometrics had been improperly used has been rejected, as the Patent Trial and Appeal Board invalidated 21 claims made by inventor Leigh Rothschild, Law360 writes.

The court found that Askeladden, which Law360 describes as a patent quality advocacy group, had showed the proposed amended claims were obvious, and therefore invalid. The PTAB ruled that Rothschild failed to address whether the claims were eligible to be patented, but asked to amend the claims without providing argument or evidence against Askeladden’s invalidity arguments. The board suspended the requirement for substitute claims to be filed with new numbers because Rothschild is representing himself.

Rothschild’s patent of a method “to verify a card user’s identity during a purchase transaction, using biometric data stored on a remote server” had also been challenged by Unified Patents in 2017, but the parties settled.

Non-profit software company GNOME has called Rothschild a “patent troll” and “notorious non-practicing entity” in previous court filings, according to Law360.

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