“BIPA has netted a growing number of these kinds of lawsuits in recent years, based on the simple legal premise that informed consent must be obtained from an individual before their biometric data is collected.”
Surprising no one, Clearview AI – the controversial firm that has been quietly selling facial recognition technology to police – has become the latest company to face allegations that it has run afoul of Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act.
BIPA has netted a growing number of these kinds of lawsuits in recent years, based on the simple legal premise that informed consent must be obtained from an individual before their biometric data is collected. Facebook was perhaps the biggest company so far to face a class action lawsuit stemming from alleged BIPA violations, but other recent examples of firms accused of violating BIPA include big names like Amazon Web Services, Juul, and WeWork.
These are generally relatively mild breaches compared to that of Clearview AI. According to a New York Times exposé this week, the US firm has designed its facial recognition tech to be as invasive as possible with respect to citizens’ privacy, allowing clients to search for face matches against images collected from across the internet, including social media profiles.
Now, according to a MediaPost report, Illinois resident David Mutnick has filed a BIPA lawsuit against Clearview AI. Represented by the firm Loevy & Loevy, Mutnick’s suit is ambitious in asking the court not only to stop Clearview from selling its facial image dataset, but to force the company to expunge the images of non-consenting subjects.
Meanwhile, an attorney named Jay Edelson who has himself championed multiple privacy cases against tech companies indicated to MediaPost that he plans to file a suit against Clearview AI as well, with the aim of shutting the company down. He commented to the outlet that “it’s really scary that a startup – just a couple of people – can just change America,” adding that he feels confident in his ability to outline Clearview AI’s impropriety in court.
January 23, 2020 – by Alex Perala