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Amazon immune to BIPA this time, biometric privacy suit filed against PimEyes

Amazon immune to BIPA this time, biometric privacy suit filed against PimEyes

A federal judge in the U.S. state of Illinois has dismissed a class action under the Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) against Amazon over its Rekognition facial recognition tool.

The Cook County Circuit Court sided with Amazon Web Services, which claimed it cannot be sued in Illinois because it does not operate in the state – instead, its product is deployed through another company, called Wonolo.

The case was brought by Cynthia Redd who used job search firm Wonolo in 2020 to find temporary work, the Cook Country Record reported Tuesday. Redd scanned her face to verify her identity and track working hours through Wonolo which uses Rekognition.

In the lawsuit, Redd claimed that the scans violated her rights and those of other workers under BIPA and that Amazon was required to obtain written consent and inform users on how facial biometric data will be handled. The court, however, ruled that Redd failed to establish that the company operates in Illinois.

“Aside from registering to do business in Illinois, the only alleged link between (Amazon) and Illinois runs through Wonolo,” Judge Elaine Bucklo decided.”

Illinois is the site of many privacy cases as it is the only state that gives consumers the right to sue over biometric privacy violations. Plaintiffs can also sue for each time an illegal scan is taken.

Illinois courts are also deliberating on another BIPA proposed class action against a group of companies and individuals behind face search engine PimEyes.

The case was filed last week at the Madison County Circuit Court by a group of five Illinois residents. They claim PimEyes invaded their privacy while collecting and scanning images of millions of Americans from online databases without express consent. The plaintiffs argue that the company also did not explain its data management policies.

PimEyes charges users $29.99 per month for its service.

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