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Facebook celebrates an easy BIPA win; two other cases get jostled

Facebook celebrates an easy BIPA win; two other cases get jostled

What a tangled web we weave when we first practice to deceive; moreso when we first file biometric information privacy lawsuits.

On the docket today: First, Facebook has upturned a privacy class action because the accuser could not show he was harmed in anyway by the social media’s biometric practices. Then, Google wants a judge to ignore the plaintiff’s request to break up a privacy case. Finally, a case involving facial recognition touch-up software has been moved to another venue.

All three involve alleged violations of the U.S. state of Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act, which forces organizations to get consent from a resident to harvest their facial biometrics and to tell them how it will be used and managed.

Plaintiffs and defendants in BIPA cases strategize about the better forum to make their case – federal or state courts. Most of the wrangling here involves where a case should be heard.

But first, Facebook succeeded in California federal judge ruled that plaintiff and Illinois resident Clayton Zellmer had no standing to sue the company for allegedly not having policies for retaining biometric data.

The judge said, according to trade publication Law360, a company cannot be required to “notify and gain permission from people who ‘were for all practical purposes total stranger’ with no relationship to” the defendant.

Google, meanwhile, is in federal court defending itself against accusations that its Workspace for Education software illegally collected biometric identifiers from grade schoolers.

Plaintiffs in the suit reportedly want to move one of their claims to state court, which Google’s attorneys say is a “blatant effort to forum-shop,” according to a second Law360 article.

The publication called Google’s request “unusual.” The company says the plaintiffs’ case is “broader than construed and gives the group standing in federal court.”

The case began in state court, filed by the parents of two students who used Workspace.

Google had previously and unsuccessfully tried to get out of a putative class action by saying BIPA was pre-empted by an Illinois law specifically targeting the harvesting of grade schoolers’ biometric data.

The last lawsuit involves the makers of Facetune, an app that captures users’ facial identifiers and enables them to create more attractive images of themselves. Unfortunately for the firm, it records the identifiers, allegedly without getting a person’s consent.

It moved from the Cook County (Ill.) Circuit Court to the federal District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

Lightricks US is the defendant. The plaintiffs are the mothers of three children, according to the Westlaw court documents publishing company.

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