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Raft of new legal headaches from biometrics use for three consumer product companies

Raft of new legal headaches from biometrics use for three consumer product companies

Amazon, Meta/Facebook and, improbably, Proctor & Gamble are wrangling with new legal drama involving consumers’ biometric identifiers.

Amazon is being sued by the guardian of an Illinois minor whose face biometrics, captured via a third-party basketball simulation game developer, were stored on Amazon cloud infrastructure.

The game company, Take 2 Interactive Software, created a companion app for its NBA 2K game that enabled players to upload 13 pictures of their faces.

The resulting combined image (stored and delivered by Amazon) becomes the face of a consumer’s avatar in game play, according to reporting by Law Street Media.

Allegedly, Amazon did not comply with Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act, which requires that consumers be informed in writing that, among other actions their biometrics are being gathered and stored. Take 2 is not a party to the lawsuit.

Down in Texas, the assistant attorney general C. Brad Schuelke has told Meta not to destroy data related to the face recognition services offered by its previous iteration, Facebook.

The state since June 2020 has been investigating alleged illegal harvesting of biometric data from residents by Facebook. When Facebook executives said they were going to delete the 1 billion face biometrics of subscribers as part of the transition, Texas investigators acted quickly to try to protect information that could be useful in a trial.

Then there is the proposed class action against P&G, which, like the Amazon action, involves Illinois’ BIPA.

Jan Gamboa, an Illinois resident, says that the consumer giant’s Oral-B iO series 7G toothbrush and phone app, gathers personally identifying data on buyers of the product, according to reporting by Law360.

Through her lawyer, Gamboa says the toothbrush and app record face geometry and software to create custom brushing practices designed to better clean an individual’s teeth.

As an Illinois resident, she should have been told in writing that P&G was collecting, storing, using and sharing her biometric data, and her suit alleges that none of that happened.

P&G’s privacy policy states that customer data is shared with third-party partners. That information, according to the policy, is collected “in many ways from many places.”

The company lists a number of data categories collected, such as mailing address, but it does not mention that biometric information resulting from using a toothbrush can be gathered.

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