In the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, plaintiff Joshua Gaertner has filed a class action lawsuit against Commemorative Brands, Inc., doing business as Balfour & Co., Commemorative Brands Illinois LLC, and Iconic Group, Inc. — collectively referred to as “GradImages” — under the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA). Gaertner alleges that GradImages has illegally collected and used biometric identifiers and information of the plaintiff and thousands of others without informed written consent.
BIPA mandates that private entities must inform individuals in writing about the collection, storage, and use of their biometrics, obtain written consent, and publish guidelines for permanently destroying collected biometrics. Additionally, profiting from an individual’s biometrics is prohibited under BIPA.
GradImages, a nationwide photography company specializing in capturing graduation ceremonies and related events, is alleged to leverage biometrics to facilitate the sale of its photographs.
While the plaintiff’s legal filing does not explicitly detail how GradImages profits from its use of biometric technology, it indicates that GradImages links a unique identifier to individuals’ biometric data, allowing them to leverage this data for the sale of photographs. Based on this context, it can be inferred that GradImages likely offers personalized photo packages to individuals by utilizing their biometric data, such as facial images, to create unique identifiers associated with their photographs. These personalized packages may include options for prints, digital copies, or other related products, generating revenue for GradImages.
The class action lawsuit seeks damages for GradImages’ violations of BIPA and aims to represent all individuals similarly affected by the company’s unlawful biometric data collection and use. The lawsuit highlights GradImages’ failure to comply with BIPA’s requirements regarding informed consent, purpose disclosure, retention schedules, and guidelines for destruction of biometric data.
It’s the latest in a long and growing line of lawsuits filed under BIPA, arriving shortly after OpenAI and Microsoft were accused of violating the Illinois privacy law through the alleged collection of biometric data used to train their generative AI technology.
Source: Bloomberg Law
July 18, 2023 – by the FindBiometrics Editorial Team