A Southern District of Illinois judge has sent an action against iOS and Android social media app Snapchat to arbitration following a filing from parent company Snap Inc.
The case, which alleges that SnapChat’s use of facial geometry scans are in violation of the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA), was filed in 2019 on behalf of a 13-year-old plaintiff who resides in Illinois and registered her own SnapChat account while agreeing to its Terms of Service.
With the filing for arbitration, the courts are currently considering “whether a minor is bound by the terms of an arbitration agreement contained in the Terms of Service associated with a mobile application such that issues of validity and enforceability, and the effectiveness of the minor’s disaffirmance, of the agreement should be decided by an arbitrator,” as Law Street reports.
Snap is one of a number of high-profile defendants that have found themselves on the receiving end of a BIPA violation, and is among a list of companies that includes Google, Amazon, Facebook, Walgreens, and Dr. Pepper, among others.
Over the past several months BIPA has emerged as one of the most potent biometrics privacy laws in the United States, prompting US senators Bernie Sanders and Jeff Merkley to propose a nationwide version of the act. Under BIPA, any corporation operating within the State of Illinois is required to get the express written consent of an individual before they are able to record or store any of their biometric data.
In the case against Snap, the court sided with the defendant, with the explanation that the inclusion of the American Arbitration Association’s Consumer Arbitration Rules will govern over the arbitration, and that they give “clear and unmistakable evidence of intent to delegate threshold issues of the ‘existence, scope, or validity of the arbitration agreement or to the arbitrability of any claim’ to the arbitrator.”
Source: Law Street
June 15, 2021 — by Tony Bitzionis