Clearview wants U.S. judge to rethink her decision not to dismiss BIPA counts
Clearview AI executives are exploring increasingly niche arguments in hopes of keeping their photo-scraping business model alive.
The facial recognition subscription service, marketed in the United States to law enforcement, is mired in U.S. court cases (and many other venues around the world).
For the most part, U.S. plaintiffs say Clearview mined their social media accounts for face photos and then hijacked the image’s biometric identifiers.
Executives this week are trying to get U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman to dismiss multiple counts of alleged privacy piracy.
One argument goes like this: Clearview dumped all of its non-government subscribers about a year ago. That would make the firm a government contractor, which would limit its exposure to some legal actions.
At the time, it seemed that executives wanted to limit their market to appear more focused on altruistic operations aiding police seeking lost adults and trafficked children.
But significantly, viewed as a government contractor, Clearview is not covered by Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act, according to reporting by MediaPost.
That law requires businesses acquiring biometric identifiers to get express consent from individuals and other provisions. Fines for violating BIPA are moderate but they can be levied on every single collection.
Executives also want to be freed from accusations that it has violated similar laws in three other states.
A Law Street Media article discusses several other objections that Clearview has raised in class actions that it faces.
One rebuttal, if accepted by Judge Coleman, would overturn a fundamental plank on which BIPA stands — that the non-consensual taking of someone’s biometric data is as real a harm as taking someone’s physical property.