Two Illinois residents filed a class action Complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against a biometrics company and its company's licensing agent for gathering biometrics identifiers and information without informed consent.
The plaintiffs alleged that Clearview AI, Inc. and CDW Government LLC violated Illinois' Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) by actively collecting, storing and using biometrics, in addition to those of most of the residents of Illinois, without receiving the appropriate informed consent. As cited in the Complaint, the Illinois legislature states that:
"[b]iometrics . . . are biologically unique to the individual; therefore, once compromised, the individual has no recourse, is at heightened risk for identity theft, and is likely to withdraw from biometrics facilitated transactions."
The plaintiffs stated that Clearview created a facial recognition tool using a database of approximately three billion photographs that Clearview built from scraping sources including Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and Venmo. According to the plaintiffs, the facial recognition tool was designed to allow a user to identify virtually anyone by uploading a photograph and then be able to instantly see photos of the person on various social media platforms. The Plaintiffs also alleged that Clearview licensed its facial recognition tool to "hundreds of law enforcement agencies" (see previous coverage).
The plaintiffs are seeking to represent residents of Illinois whose biometric identifiers were collected by Clearview over the past five years.