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Biometric data privacy lawsuits against Amazon, Clearview survive dismissal appeals

Biometric data privacy lawsuits against Amazon, Clearview survive dismissal appeals

Neither Amazon nor Clearview AI made progress this week fending off biometric privacy lawsuits filed in the United States. Clearview was brushed off while Amazon got a bit of a talking to.

Both are tied up in the state of Illinois, home of the landmark Biometric Information Privacy Act, which requires organizations to get informed consent from individuals before collecting their biometrics and to tell those consenting details about how their data will be managed.

In their ongoing case (21-cv-013), Clearview‘s lawyers had asked U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman to reconsider her February 14 rejection of the company’s request for dismissal. They apparently still feel that there is a lack of personal jurisdiction in the multi-district litigation, as plaintiffs lack a sufficient personal connection with Illinois.

The argument did not specifically address the connection between plaintiffs and the state or lack thereof, however, the judge ruled in a decision reposted by Law360.

Johnson Coleman also denied Clearview attorneys their request for oral argument “because it is unnecessary.”

In Europe, meanwhile, things have not been going Clearview’s way.

The firm was fined €20 million ($20.1 million) earlier this month by a data regulator in Europe. The agency found that it had violating several articles of the European Union’s General Data Protection Rule with its facial recognition service.

An Italian regulator had issued a €20 million fine on Clearview in March, and the United Kingdom imposed a £7.5 million fine in May.

Amazon is hardly having a better day in court.

Defending against BIPA lawsuits, Amazon this week was castigated by a U.S. district judge for “rehashing its failed arguments.” The company’s lawyers apparently hoped two time’s the charm with their contention that Amazon did not use or benefit from photos that are central to the case.

Its lawyers asked for a summary judgment in their client’s favor based on the re-used argument.

Plaintiffs Steven Vance and Tim Janecyk had asked Judge James Robart to reject that request (in case 2:20-cv-01084), arguing (also for the second time) that Amazon used the biometric data – gathered from Illinois residents — to a not-insignificant extent, according to trade publication Law360.

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