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Plaintiffs failed to prove Google violated BIPA

Plaintiffs failed to prove Google violated BIPA

A biometric privacy lawsuit in the United States is on its last legs after a judge dismissed much of the case. At issue is the use of a dataset built by IBM and licensed by Google.

The decision does not signal a promising courtroom strategy for defendants caught in Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act so much as it will be seen as a cautionary tale for plaintiffs.

A U.S. district judge this week dismissed most of a 2020 case charging that Google violated BIPA when it bought an IBM Diversity In Faces biometric dataset intended to help reduce algorithmic bias in facial recognition. The two complainants who brought the case accused IBM of harvesting templates of their faces they had stored on Flickr.

The plaintiffs were allowed to refile some claims including unjust enrichment, according to trade publication Law360.

A district court has already ruled against an interpretation of BIPA that profiting from biometric data means any use that entails a benefit.

In dismissing claims in the case, the judge said Google was not in the state of Illinois when it used the dataset and it didn’t interact with any Illinois residents in its acquisition of the data.

The judge did not agree that Google’s actions put the plaintiffs at risk of surveillance or other breach of privacy.

The next steps are in the plaintiffs’ hands. They must refile the complaint on new grounds to begin the process again.

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