Illinois Facial Recognition Law Causes Wave Of Class Actions against Facebook, Others

At the opening of this millennium, the concept of computer programs using facial acknowledgment software application to target ads to individuals was the stuff of such sci-fi stories as the 2002 film Minority Report.


By 2010, however, Facebook FB -0.18% had reported its users had used more than 100 million tags to photos published to its website, recognizing countless individuals appearing in the pictures, and allowing the social networks titan to release a new tool it called Tag Suggestions essentially permitting facial recognition algorithms to determine in those uploaded pictures the people whose faceprint had actually been stored in Facebook’s databases from previous tagged picture uploads.

And by 2015, Facebook was served with the very first in a series of class action claims under a previously little known Illinois law over the use of facial recognition and other such biometric identification systems.

If those bringing such class action claims have their way, the state law, enacted in 2008 as the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act, will affect businesses of numerous sizes, far beyond Silicon Valley’s social media giants.

Only Texas and Illinois have such state-level laws in location to secure biometric details. However Illinois was ahead of its time when it created the BIPA eight years ago, said Christopher Dore, a partner at Edelson PC in Chicago.

3BIPA manages the ways in which person s biometric identifiers described in the serve as a retina or iris scan, fingerprint, voiceprint, or scan of hand or face geometry are collected, stored and utilized.

Under the act, people must be notified in writing ahead of time and offer their composed consent before any biometric identifiers can be gotten by a private entity. The length of time the identifiers will be used likewise must be revealed.

But since BIPA was, and is, the only act of its kind in regard to its strength and since it entered being a number of years prior to Facebook implemented Tag Suggestions it mostly sat on the shelf, going undetected by companies running on a nationwide basis, Dore stated.

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