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Biometric data privacy lawsuit against Amazon split between state and federal courts

Two US cases end, one begins, two more linger
Biometric data privacy lawsuit against Amazon split between state and federal courts

Amazon will face two biometric data privacy claims over voice biometrics allegedly collected by its digital assistant Alexa without meeting the legal requirements in federal court, and the other two claims in state court as they do not meet the federal injury-in-fact standard.

The decision by Illinois Federal Judge Stephen P. McGlynn, spotted by Bloomberg Law, send claims under Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) 15(a) and (c), which relate to informed consent and improper data sharing, back to the state. The claims under BIPA 15(d) and (e), which cover proper disclosure and protection of biometric data, respectively, will proceed on February 11, 2022.

The decision follows the same precedent as a recent split in a suit involving McDonald’s voice biometrics.

Amazon has also faced a separate lawsuit under BIPA for alleged capturing of children’s voice biometrics.

Testing center sued

Pearson Education, an operator of testing centers in Illinois which uses vein biometrics to verify the identity of test-takers, allegedly failed to collect informed consent from its end-users, according to a lawsuit filed in Cook County and reported by Top Class Actions.

The proposed class action also alleges Pearson failed to provide a biometric data retention schedule.

Google wins double dismissal

A complaint brought against Google under California law alleging violations through non-disclosure of potential training data collection by its voice assistant service has been dismissed, according to Law360.

California Consumer Legal Remedies Act imposes disclosure requirements on businesses collecting user data, but the plaintiffs failed to show that Google had anything to disclose to them beyond what it did, U.S. District Judge Beth Freeman ruled. The allegations backing the two rejected claims showed that Google had fulfilled its obligation to disclose that voice data and other mechanisms could be used to activate its virtual assistant.

Is it over yet?

Microsoft has filed a motion to oppose a request for six months of additional discovery time in its BIPA case over the ‘Diversity in Faces’ biometric dataset, as reported by Law Street, saying the plaintiffs have not identified the information the request targets, and that they have not made use of the discovery resources already availed of them by Microsoft.

A $1 million settlement agreement over claims against Hyatt that worked out well for plaintiff’s attorneys has been approved, Law360 reports.

Meanwhile, Petco is asking a state court to wait for a pair of Illinois Supreme Court decisions relating to claims accrual and whether workers compensation rules pre-empt BIPA, Law360 writes separately.

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