Shutterfly has come to terms with an Illinois man who had filed a lawsuit against the company’s use of biometric identification with respect to his person. The plaintiff argued that Shutterfly’s use of biometric identification on his image, which was uploaded to the site by a third party, violated his privacy rights as he had not signed up for the service.
Illinois is one of only two states in the US with privacy laws specifically governing biometrics, and has been the launch site of similar cases against Facebook. In Shutterfly’s case, the company had initially tried to have the lawsuit dismissed before a judge ruled that the case would proceed in court. The plaintiff had been seeking class-action status, which may have helped to push Shutterfly to its settlement with him, the amount of which remains undisclosed.
It isn’t clear whether this case will affect how Shutterfly operates its photo-sharing service or biometric identification system going forward, and given that it never played out in court, there is likely little for other companies using biometric identification to learn from its example. However, at least one similar case against Facebook was recently settled in that company’s favor, though another is still pending.
Source: Chicago Tribune
April 13, 2016 – by Alex Perala