Class Actions Allege Amazon, Google, FaceFirst, and Microsoft Unlawfully Collected, Obtained, Stored, Used, Possessed And Profited From Biometric Identifiers

On July 14, 2020, four separate, but very similar, class action complaints were filed in United States District Courts against FaceFirst, Inc. (“FaceFirst”), Google LLC (“Google”),, Inc. (“Amazon”), and Microsoft Corporation (“Microsoft”) alleging that said Defendants, in their efforts to improve their facial recognition technology, committed violations of the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (“BIPA”) by, among other things, unlawfully collecting, obtaining, storing, using, possessing and profiting from the biometric identifiers (“namely, facial geometric scans”) and information of Plaintiffs and all other similarly situated Illinois residents and citizens (the “Class Members”).

The class action complaints against FaceFirst, Google, Amazon, and Microsoft seek (a) statutory damages of $5,000 per BIPA violation, or, alternatively, if Defendants acted negligently, $1,000 per BIPA violation, along with attorneys’ fees and costs; (b) disgorgement of Defendants’ ill-gotten gains derived from the use of the unlawfully-acquired data; and (c) an injunction (i) barring Defendants from any further use of Illinois citizens’ and residents’ biometric identifiers and information; (ii) barring Defendants from continuing to collect, obtain, store, use, possess and profit from Plaintiffs’ and Class Members’ biometric identifiers and information; and (iii) requiring Defendants to delete and destroy Plaintiffs’ and Class Members’ biometric identifiers and information.

According to the class action complaints, IBM made the “Diversity in Faces Dataset” available to the Defendants which obtained the dataset and, allegedly, used the links provided by IBM to download, copy or otherwise obtain from Flickr each photograph in the dataset, including Plaintiffs’ photographs, in order to associate the biometric identifiers and information provided by IBM with the actual photographs to which the biometric data related. Further, the Defendants, allegedly, profited from the biometric identifiers and information contained in the Diversity in Faces Dataset, because those biometric identifiers and information allowed the Defendants to improve its facial recognition products and technologies, including by allowing the Defendants to improve the effectiveness of its facial recognition technology on a diverse array of faces, thereby making those products and technologies more valuable in the commercial marketplace.

The Defendants, allegedly, never advised or informed the Plaintiffs or their legal authorized representative in writing: (a) that they collected, stored and used Plaintiffs’ biometric identifiers and information; or (b) of the specific purpose and length of term for which Plaintiffs’ biometric identifiers and information were being collected, stored and used.  Additionally, the Defendants never received a written release executed by the Plaintiffs or their legally authorized representative to collect, capture, receive, obtain, store or use their biometric identifiers and information.

Do You Believe Your Biometric Information May Have Been Illegally Collected, Stored, Used, Disclosed, Transmitted Or Disseminated?

Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act provides a private right of action in an Illinois state circuit court, or as a supplemental claim in federal district court, against an offending party.  Among other relief, BIPA provides for liquidated damages of $1,000 or actual damages, whichever is greater, against a private entity that negligently violates a provision of BIPA, as well as liquidated damages of $5,000 or actual damages, whichever is greater, against a private entity that intentionally or recklessly violates a provision of BIPA.

If you believe your biometric data has been illegally collected, stored, used, disclosed, transmitted or disseminated, please contact Kehoe Law Firm, P.C., Michael Yarnoff, Esq., (215) 792-6676, Ext. 804, [email protected][email protected], to discuss potential legal claims.

Kehoe Law Firm, P.C.