Clearview AI Facial Image Database BIPA Illinois Class Action

Clearview AI, Inc. “has created one of the largest proprietary databases in the world consisting of images of individuals[,] says the complaint for this class action. But it also alleges that the company has violated the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) by wrongfully obtaining and using those images.

The class for this action is all persons living in Illinois whose facial geometry was scanned by Clearview and subsequently sold, leased, traded, disclosed, redisclosed or otherwise used by Clearview to profit without Clearview having complied with BIPA’s requirements.

The taking, storing, and use of biometrics opens individuals to real privacy problems. If ordinary databases are breached and credit card information is stolen, the owner of the credit card can cancel it and get a new one. But if fingerprints are stolen, the individual cannot get a new set of fingerprints.

Illinois has made a start in addressing biometric privacy concerns with BIPA. At this time, the law’s requirements for private entities such as Clearview are relatively mild.
They may not collect or otherwise obtain an individual’s biometric identifiers and information without giving the person a written notice and obtaining a written release.
They may not sell, lease, trade, or otherwise profit from individuals’ biometric identifiers or information.
They may not disclose, redisclose, or otherwise disseminate the identifiers or information unless specifically allowed by the law.
They must develop a written policy, made available to the public, that establishes a retention schedule and guideline for permanently destroying the identifiers and information.

The complaint alleges that Clearview has not obeyed even these requirements. It claims that Clearview obtained the images by “scraping” them from sites like Facebook, Venmo, Linked In, YouTube, Twitter, and Google, even where this violates the terms of service.

The complaint alleges that the company then applies proprietary facial recognition technology so that its customers can get private information about the individual and links to sites about them.

According to the complaint, Clearview has provided the information not only to law enforcement but also to banks and retail companies. Clearview reported that its client list was stolen in February 2020. Exposure of the list has shown that Clearview was providing its information to Macy’s, Walmart, Kohl’s, Best Buy, banks, sports leagues, entertainment venues, mobile carriers, casinos, gyms, ticketing platforms, cryptocurrency exchanges, and others.

The exposed information also indicated that the technology had been used by more than 2,200 people at law enforcement agencies, government institutions, and companies in twenty-seven countries; and that Clearview is trying to sell its technologies around the world, including to authoritarian regimes such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE. A New York Times article also claimed that the technology has been made available to “certain wealthy individuals, including John Catsimatidis, the billionaire owner of the Gristedes grocery store chain, who used the technology for his personal use, such as investigating his daughter’s boyfriends—in direct contravention of Clearview’s representation that its technology was used solely by law enforcement.”

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Privacy

Most Recent Case Event

Clearview AI Facial Image Database BIPA Illinois Complaint

March 13, 2020

Clearview AI, Inc. “has created one of the largest proprietary databases in the world consisting of images of individuals[,] says the complaint for this class action. But it also alleges that the company has violated the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) by wrongfully obtaining and using those images.

Clearview AI Facial Image Database BIPA Illinois Complaint

Case Event History

Clearview AI Facial Image Database BIPA Illinois Complaint

March 13, 2020

Clearview AI, Inc. “has created one of the largest proprietary databases in the world consisting of images of individuals[,] says the complaint for this class action. But it also alleges that the company has violated the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) by wrongfully obtaining and using those images.

Clearview AI Facial Image Database BIPA Illinois Complaint
Tags: Biometric Data, Taking/Storing/Using Biometric Data, Using Your Private Information Without Consent, Your Privacy