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Class action suit against Clearview AI cites Illinois law that cost Facebook $550M

Just two weeks ago Facebook agreed a lawsuit alleging violations of privacy laws in Illinois( for the considerable sum of $550 million ). Now controversial startup Clearview AI, which has gleefully admitted to scraping and analyzing the data of millions, is the target of a new lawsuit citing same violations.

Clearview induced motions earlier this year with a business model seemingly predicated on wholesale abuse of public-facing data on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and so on. If your face is visible to a web scraper or public API, Clearview either has it or craves it and will be submitting it for analysis by facial identification systems.

Just one difficulty: That’s illegal in Illinois, and you dismiss that is something that your jeopardy, as Facebook found.

Facebook will offer $550 million to settle class action lawsuit over privacy abuses

The lawsuit, entered yesterday on behalf of various Illinois citizens and first reported by Buzzfeed News, alleges that Clearview” actively obtained, stored and used Plaintiffs’ biometrics — and the biometrics of most of the residents of Illinois — without equip notice, obtaining informed prior written consent or publicizing data retention policies .”

Not simply that, but this biometric data has been licensed to many law enforcement agencies, including within Illinois itself.

All this is allegedly in violation of the Biometric Information Privacy Act, a 2008 law that has been shown to be remarkably long-sighted and resistant to strives by industry( including, apparently, by Facebook while it crusaded its own court battle) to spray it down.

The lawsuit( filed in New York, where Clearview is based) is at its terribly earliest stages and has only been assigned a referee, and summonses sent to Clearview and CDW Government, the intermediary for selling its services to law enforcement. It’s impossible to say how it will play out at this stage, but the success of the Facebook suit and the similarity of the two cases( essentially the automated and undisclosed ingestion of photos by a facial recognition instrument) suggest that this one has legs.

The scale is difficult to predict, and likely would depend predominantly on exposure by Clearview as to the number and sort of its analysis of photos of those are guaranteed by BIPA.

Even if Clearview were to immediately delete all the information it has on citizens of Illinois, it would still likely be held liable for its previous plays. A federal magistrate in Facebook’s example wrote:” the development of face template working facial-recognition technology without permission( as alleged here) attacks an individual’s private things and specific interests ,” and is therefore actionable. That’s a strong precedent and the similarities are obvious — not that they won’t be denied.

You can read the text of the complaint here.

California’s brand-new privacy constitution is off to a bumpy start

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