It’s a blow to the photo sharing company, which had previously asked for a dismissal when the case was brought forward by a Chicago resident upset about Shutterfly software’s automatic identification of him, using facial recognition technology, despite his never having signed up for the service. The lawsuit is based on Illinois legislation requiring that companies obtain user consent before proceeding with facial recognition, state legislation with only one similar US counterpart, in Texas. With the case now ready to go forward, it will be the first time such a law has been interpreted before the courts in the country.
Others are going to be watching closely. Facebook, for example, is facing similar legal action over its collection of facial biometric data, and has nevertheless gone ahead in launching such technology in regions where privacy laws could be more strict than in the US. Apple has also recently made some major investments in facial recognition technology, and while it isn’t yet clear what it plans to do with it, the company will surely be interested to see how Shutterfly’s case turns out.
January 12, 2016 – by Alex Perala