Google’s Class Action Lawsuit over allegedly violating BIPA to Remain in Illinois Court
A class action lawsuit alleging Google of violating user privacy by illegally gathering and keeping images of users’ faces will be handled first in an Illinois State court in order to avoid any “inefficiencies” that might arise from litigating in both states and federal court at the same time.
Judge Approved Federal Action to be Resolved in Illinois State Court
Judge Edmond E. Chang approved a motion filed by the plaintiffs to stay the federal action in favor of having it resolved in Illinois State court in an order issued Tuesday in an Illinois court.
Chang’s ruling was based on the “waste” and “enormous inefficiencies and expenses” associated with elements of a case being treated simultaneously within state and federal courts.
He wrote that the significant costs associated with piecemeal litigation — dividing informed-consent and retention-policy claims into two separate forums — and the strong Illinois involvement in presenting an Illinois statutory conflict to the Illinois State court system require that this federal case remains in favor of the state case.
Despite Previous Lawsuits, Google Continues to Violate the Biometric Information Privacy Act
In 2016, Google was accused of breaking Illinois’s Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) by using its face-recognition technology, which reportedly scanned and saved so-called faceprints.
The only two states that govern how private companies may utilize biometric data are Illinois and Texas; Illinois is the only state that allows for statutory damages in the event of a violation.
Lindabeth Rivera and Joseph Weiss, lead plaintiffs, argued in their complaint that Google’s scans of face geometry drawn from images are covered by BIPA, stating that the plain language of BIPA identifies Google’s scans of face geometry as biometric identifiers.
BIPA forbids private companies from acquiring or retaining biometric identifiers, including face geometry, without first getting specific written consent.
Plaintiff Lindabeth Rivera alleged that her face geometry was scanned and stored when she used Google Photos, a cloud-based photo-sharing service. Google Photos is a service that analyzes the facial attributes of people who appear in images uploaded on it.
In addition, Rivera — a Chicago resident — asserted that a Google Photos user captured approximately 11 images of her using an Android smartphone that captured and uploaded the images automatically.
Moreover, Google software purportedly scanned Rivera’s unique face geometry and generated a template of her face following the upload.
Furthermore, the plaintiff stated that she does not use Google Photos or own an Android phone, implying that she is an unwitting participant in Google’s face printing collection practices.
Plaintiff Joseph Weiss asserts similar claims against Google regarding its cloud-based photo storage services, which were consolidated with Rivera’s.
Google encountered another class action lawsuit under the BIPA last year, with an Illinois resident alleging that the company improperly collects biometric data from children via Chromebooks that are distributed in public schools.
Editor’s Note on Google BIPA Class Action Lawsuit:
This article is written to inform you of the approval of Judge Edmond E. Chang to a motion filed by the plaintiffs for the Google face-scan class action lawsuit to be resolved in an Illinois State court. Another class action lawsuit was filed against Google for illegally selling millions of users private data.
Case Name & No.: Lindabeth Rivera, et al. v. Google, LLC., No. 1:2016cv02714
Jurisdiction: US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
Allegations: Google reportedly violated BIPA with its face-recognition technology by allegedly storing its consumers’ faceprints without consent.
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