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US biometric data privacy suit nets Jumio and crypto firm Binance

US biometric data privacy suit nets Jumio and crypto firm Binance

A U.S. federal judge has rejected two of three defendants’ motions to dismiss a biometric data privacy case.

The three – ID verifier Jumio, Binance Capital Management and Binance-linked BAM Trading Services — had been accused in a proposed class action of violating the state of Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act and of unjust enrichment.

British Virgin Islands-organized Binance Capital’s petition to dismiss was granted for lack of jurisdiction. Jumio and BAM must respond to an amended complaint by April 19.

BAM unsuccessfully tried to make the case that it is a financial institution and, thus, is exempt from BIPA. According to multiple media reports, Binance.US’ operator is BAM, and BAM’s beneficial owner is Changpeng Zhao, CEO of Binance.

Among other strategies, Jumio tried to say it cannot not be held liable because it was working for a financial institution. Jumio also claimed that the U.S. First Amendment protects the act of making recordings.

The motion to dismiss case 21-cv-001425-SPM was filed April 4 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois. Judge Stephen McGlynn is assigned to the case. The putative class is all Illinois residents who were account holders with Binance.US and whose biometric data was collected prior to May 25, 2021.

The plaintiff, Kamil Kuklinski, filed suit in 2021, claiming that Jumio, Binance Capital Management and BAM misused his biometric data under BIPA.

Setting up an account with Binance (on BAM’s cryptocurrency exchange) Kuklinski used Jumio’s identity verification software, which requires applicants to share a photo ID and a selfie.

Kuklinski alleges that after he had substantially completed the application, the defendants collected his data without getting written consent and did not tell him how the information would be managed, as required under BIPA.

He maintains that two month after he enrolled, a new version of BAM’s application process displayed a note telling applicants they have to consent to Jumio collecting and disclosing biometric data by clicking a box.

Binance is the world’s largest cryptocurrency marketplace by volume, and it was sued by the U.S. government last month because it knowingly disregarded U.S. financial-market laws.

BIPA has proven costly for not just for businesses using biometrics, but also those providing the technology, including Jumio.

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