Microsoft’s Face Scanning App Violated Illinois Biometric Law, Latest Class Action Contends
An Illinois Uber driver is suing technology behemoth Microsoft for allegedly violating the different provisions of the Illinois Biometric Privacy Act when they gathered, stored, and profited from users’ biometric information without obtaining their prior approval.
Former Uber Employee Sues
Mario Peña, a former Uber driver based in Chicago, argued that Microsoft had injured and violated his guaranteed privacy rights and other similarly situated individuals when it deployed its software program in partnership with Uber.
The program in question, called Face API or Face Application Programming Interface, was allegedly collecting and storing every Uber drivers’ facial biometric information.
According to Peña, this was done by Uber, and they required all new and incoming drivers to use the application to scan their facial features. Then, they were asked to update their information by doing scans in a specified period of time. He underwent the whole process and was also asked to provide a facial scan every time he accessed Uber’s driver platform application.
Nevertheless, the class action contended that Microsoft, in collaboration with Uber, collected and stored users’ facial biometric information, which was then used to create a database to form a so-called geometric template.
This is then used by the company to compare different pieces of biometric data inputted by the driver via the Face API application.
Alleged Transgressions Of The Law
Throughout the whole process, Microsoft did not provide users the proper information dissemination and prior express consent needed that were all mandated under the Illinois Biometric Privacy Act.
In addition, the tech company did not provide the necessary protocols to show how they handle the different stages of data collection, storage, and the like and if they are in line with the provisions of the law.
Allegations were also raised that Microsoft made money off the users’ information via Uber’s payment to them in exchange for being allowed to use the Face API software.
Plaintiff Peña presented that Uber drivers like him and others have suffered damages and injuries due to the transgressions on their privacy committed by Microsoft.
He also added that the whole ordeal may have caused them to be more susceptible to future incidents of fraud and other cybersecurity threats to their safety due to the company’s neglect of the law.
The Microsoft Uber Facial BIPA Class Action is asking the court to allow the formation of a Class consisting of Illinois-based Uber drivers who used Microsoft’s Face API program and had their personal biometric information collected from them.
The plaintiff is also wishing the court to release an injunction that would order Microsoft to cease its illegal acts and follow the provisions imposed by the Illinois BIPA along with the awarding of monetary damages and other fees.
Microsoft, or officially known as Microsoft Corporation or Microsoft Corp., is a Washington-based technological giant and a well-respected player in the industry.
The company is responsible for developing, making, licensing, providing support services, and selling different personal computing devices and services. Founded in 1975, the company is currently headed by their top official, Satya Nadella, serving as the CEO.
Editor’s Note on Microsoft BIPA Class Action Lawsuit 2021 – Illegally Selling Users’ Biometric Data…:
This news feature provides you the latest information about the class action filed against Microsoft by one of Uber’s former drivers for allegedly violating provisions of the state of Illinois’ biometric privacy statute.
Case Name(s) & No.(s): Mario Peña v. Microsoft Corp.; Case No. 2021-CH-02338
Jurisdiction: Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, Chancery Division
Products/Services Involved: Microsoft’s Face API or Face Application Programming Interface
Allegation(s): Microsoft’s Face API or Face Application Programming Interface program illegally collected, stored, and profited from users’ biometric information without their prior consent.
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