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Parties seek clarity in biometric data privacy lawsuits’ scope

Parties seek clarity in biometric data privacy lawsuits’ scope
 

A series of court cases over alleged violations of biometric data privacy are gradually increasing clarity on the scope of Illinois’ regulations.

First, and unsurprisingly, the defendant must be correctly identified.

Proctor360 was misidentified as a service provider for Illinois universities by a student alleging it committed BIPA violations, Bloomberg Law writes. That case has now been dismissed.

Meanwhile, shareholders are seeking to consolidate a lawsuit against Amazon for allegedly misleading investors through statements and actions related to compliance with biometric data privacy laws.

Specifically, a pair of plaintiffs allege that the company and a cadre of its executives violated the Illinois Biometrics Information Privacy Act, Law360 writes. Executive Chairman and Former CEO Jeff Bezos is named in the suit, as is current CEO Andy Jassy.

Amazon.Inc is therefore both plaintiff, and nominal defendant, as set out in the motion.

One shareholder, Stephen Nelson, alleges numerous BIPA violations by Amazon. The violations have cause “significant damages” to Amazon, the plaintiffs further allege. Executives were made aware of the compliance problems, but failed to take action when they could have addressed them, plaintiffs say.

If the motion is granted by the federal court judge, the consolidated derivative shareholder lawsuits will be heard together, along with any other related filings, in the Western District of Washington.

Object detection and liability scope questions

Claims brought against Snap Inc. by plaintiffs who opted out of arbitration over the use of facial filter on social media platform Snapchat should be thrown out, the defense argues, because the software uses object recognition to identify parts of a face, rather than facial recognition technology.

The company filed a motion to that effect in an Illinois federal court, further pointing out that there are only 51 plaintiffs in the proposed class action. As Law Street points out, the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) requires a putative class of at least 100 members.

The object recognition argument will be of interest to any company serving Illinois residents with similar software, and could even be deployed by companies providing virtual try-on services and others that do not involve identification.

Plaintiffs alleging BIPA violations by Clearview AI have filed an amended complaint, spotted by Law Street. The update adds AT&T, Kohl’s, Walmart, Best Buy, Albertson’s and The Home Depot to the list of defendants.

They were added as plaintiffs are asking for relief from a ‘Clearview Client Class’ made up of private entities the plaintiffs argue benefitted from their biometric data by licensing and using the facial recognition software. Other, as of yet unnamed businesses that did the same thing are also included.

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