Biometric data privacy suit against Google to wait for answers from IBM proceedings

Biometric data privacy suit against Google to wait for answers from IBM proceedings

A proposed class action alleging biometric data privacy regulation violations by Google should wait until a set of facts in the case are established by a related lawsuit, a federal judge in California ruled in issuing a stay of the proceedings, Law360 writes.

Google’s use of the Diversity in Faces dataset compiled by IBM to reduce demographic effects or bias in face biometrics algorithms was challenged by Illinois residents Steven Vance and Tim Janecyk over allegations it failed to meet the informed consent requirements of Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act. Vance and Janecyk have also sued IBM over the dataset, and had two of their eight claims rejected last September.

Judge Freeman sided with Google’s argument that potential harm from letting the suit proceed while the one against IBM is progressing through Federal Court in Chicago outweighs any potential harm the plaintiffs might suffer from the stay.

Discovery in the IBM case is set to wrap up in July, 2021, so Freeman said any delay is likely to be minimal. Vance had argued that a delay could degrade testimonial evidence, but did not identify a witness or area of testimony that requires preservation or request a limited carve-out for the discovery process.

The suit against Google, along with related suits against Amazon and Microsoft, was filed last July.

While the suits are not identical, the IBM suit will settle whether Vance’s images were included in the biometric dataset and the nature of IBM’s contract with the other companies. The IBM suit will also address constitutional and factual questions that make a stay appropriate for judicial efficiency, according to the judgement.

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