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Amazon Photos Unlawful Facial Scans Illinois BIPA Class Action

Biometric information is unique to each individual and cannot be replaced if it is compromised or stolen. In Illinois, the Biometric Information and Privacy Act (BIPA) attempts to regulate the collection and use of biometrics by private entities, but the complaint for this class action claims that Amazon.com, Inc. does not obey the law. The complaint says Amazon’s Amazon Photos uses biometrics from consumer photos to develop its Rekognition technology but does not follow the requirements of BIPA.

The class for this action is all Illinois citizens who, while living in Illinois, had their biometric identifiers (including scans of facial geometry and related biometric information—collected, received, or otherwise obtained by Amazon from photos uploaded to their Amazon Photos account.

BIPA requires a number of things of private entities who collect, use, or store biometrics. For example, before taking someone’s biometrics, private entities must give the subject written notice and obtain authorization from the person. Also, they must make available to the public a policy, the law says, “establishing a retention schedule and guidelines for permanently destroying biometric identifiers and information. Finally, the complaint alleges, private entities may not profit from the use of biometrics.

Amazon Photos is a cloud-based photo storage and sharing platform that Amazon gives to all Amazon Prime subscribers—a group the complaint says comprises around 150 million people.

The complaint alleges that each time a user uploads a photo containing a face, “Amazon’s facial-recognition technology obtains that person’s biometric identifiers” via a facial scan. Amazon does not take scans of just the users of its service; the complaint says, “Amazon scans the facial geometry of every person who appears in a picture saved to Amazon Photos, regardless of whether that person is a Prime member or someone who has not idea that a photo of them has been uploaded to the platform.”

It doesn’t end with the collection of information. The complaint alleges that Amazon uses the biometrics it collects “to train and improve Rekognition…” The complaint claims, “By improving Rekognition with the biometric identifiers and information collected through Amazon Photos, Amazon makes the product more valuable and attractive to its clients, thereby increasing its profits at the expense of the individual privacy interests that BIPA was enacted to protect.”

According to the complaint, Amazon does not observe the requirements of BIPA when taking facial scans of those living in Illinois: It does not inform the subject and get authorization; it does not publish a retention schedule and guidelines for permanent destruction; and it uses the biometric information it collects to improve its technology and thus to profit more from it.

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Privacy

Most Recent Case Event

Amazon Photos Unlawful Facial Scans Illinois BIPA Complaint

July 6, 2021

Biometric information is unique to each individual and cannot be replaced if it is compromised or stolen. In Illinois, the Biometric Information and Privacy Act (BIPA) attempts to regulate the collection and use of biometrics by private entities, but the complaint for this class action claims that Amazon.com, Inc. does not obey the law. The complaint says Amazon’s Amazon Photos uses biometrics from consumer photos to develop its Rekognition technology but does not follow the requirements of BIPA.

Amazon Photos Unlawful Facial Scans Illinois BIPA Complaint

Case Event History

Amazon Photos Unlawful Facial Scans Illinois BIPA Complaint

July 6, 2021

Biometric information is unique to each individual and cannot be replaced if it is compromised or stolen. In Illinois, the Biometric Information and Privacy Act (BIPA) attempts to regulate the collection and use of biometrics by private entities, but the complaint for this class action claims that Amazon.com, Inc. does not obey the law. The complaint says Amazon’s Amazon Photos uses biometrics from consumer photos to develop its Rekognition technology but does not follow the requirements of BIPA.

Amazon Photos Unlawful Facial Scans Illinois BIPA Complaint
Tags: BIPA, Taking/Storing/Using Biometric Data, Your Privacy