Ring Video Cameras Collection and Use of Biometrics Illinois BIPA Class Action

Ring, LLC sells video doorbells, which the complaint for this class action calls “‘smart doorbells’ that allow homeowners … to see, hear, and speak to visitors from the homeowners’ phone, tablet, and PC.” Now, the complaint claims, Ring has filed a patent application “that describes an advanced system of facial recognition” that would allow law enforcement personnel as well as homeowners to scan the faces of those who appear in front of or pass the video doorbell. The complaint alleges violations of Illinois’s Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA).

The class for this action is all Illinois residents whose biometric identifiers, including scans of their facial geometry, were captured, received, or otherwise obtained by Ring from videos or other visual media captured by a Ring camera.

Ring’s patent application, the complaint says, outlines a facial recognition system “that police and other law enforcement personnel can use to match the faces of people walking by Ring Cameras with a photo database of persons who are deemed ‘suspicious.’”

It would also “allow the program to scan anyone passing a home for photos of suspicious people uploaded by a homeowner and, upon a match, the person’s face could be automatically sent to law enforcement.” The program can also compile videos from several different cameras, allowing possible recognition even of “faces that are partially obscured.” Homeowners can also place persons on an “authorized persons list.”

The complaint claims that Ring has “subpar security and privacy practices,” allowing “staff around the world to have essentially unfettered access” to the video feeds from customers’ cameras.

Also, the complaint alleges, the footage is used “to bolster Ring’s facial recognition technology.” It claims, “In particular, a Ukrainian research team charged with improving Ring’s facial recognition tools as part of its push to turn Ring Cameras into a private surveillance grid … has had ‘virtually unfettered’ access to every Ring customer’s camera videos. Upon information and belief, Ring has been capturing and using the facial geography of individuals appearing in these videos for years.”

BIPA requires certain things of companies who wish to collect or use individuals’ biometrics:

  • They must tell the subject, in writing, that the biometrics are being collected, stored, or used.
  • They must tell the subject, in writing, of the specific purpose and length of time the biometrics will be collected, stored, and used.
  • They must obtain a written release from the subject to collect, store, or use the biometrics.
  • They must have a written policy, available to the general public, that has a retention schedule and guidelines for permanently destroying the biometrics when the initial purpose has passed, or within three years of their last interaction with the subject.

The complaint alleges that Ring has been collecting, storing, and using biometrics for years to improve its facial recognition technology “without seeking or receiving consent” from the individuals involved.

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Privacy

Most Recent Case Event

Ring Video Cameras Collection and Use of Biometrics Illinois BIPA Complaint

August 28, 2020

Ring, LLC sells video doorbells, which the complaint for this class action calls “‘smart doorbells’ that allow homeowners … to see, hear, and speak to visitors from the homeowners’ phone, tablet, and PC.” Now, the complaint claims, Ring has filed a patent application “that describes an advanced system of facial recognition” that would allow law enforcement personnel as well as homeowners to scan the faces of those who appear in front of or pass the video doorbell. The complaint alleges violations of Illinois’s Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA).

Ring Video Cameras Collection and Use of Biometrics Illinois BIPA Complaint

Case Event History

Ring Video Cameras Collection and Use of Biometrics Illinois BIPA Complaint

August 28, 2020

Ring, LLC sells video doorbells, which the complaint for this class action calls “‘smart doorbells’ that allow homeowners … to see, hear, and speak to visitors from the homeowners’ phone, tablet, and PC.” Now, the complaint claims, Ring has filed a patent application “that describes an advanced system of facial recognition” that would allow law enforcement personnel as well as homeowners to scan the faces of those who appear in front of or pass the video doorbell. The complaint alleges violations of Illinois’s Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA).

Ring Video Cameras Collection and Use of Biometrics Illinois BIPA Complaint
Tags: Biometric Data, Taking/Storing/Using Biometric Data, Using Your Private Information Without Consent, Your Privacy