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Biometric suit against Apple proceeds

Posted On: Nov. 18, 2020 5:53 PM CST


A federal district court judge in Illinois has refused to dismiss putative class action litigation filed against Apple Inc. under Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act in connection with its photo app’s alleged use of biometric information.

The lawsuit in Roslyn Hazlitt et al. v. Apple Inc. charges that Apple violated BIPA with its Photos app’s use of facial recognition technology to scan individual face geometries.

In its Nov. 12 ruling, the U.S. District Court in East St. Louis refused to dismiss a claim that Apple allegedly violated BIPA by collecting biometric information without first notifying the plaintiffs in writing and obtaining their informed consent.

Plaintiffs “allege that Apple never requested or received informed consent before collecting face geometries from their photos with the Photos app,” the ruling said. Accordingly, they have standing to pursue their claims, it said.

The court did agree to remand to state court claims the company had failed to follow a written, publicly available policy with retention schedules and destruction guidelines, and that it had profited from its biometric information.

Attorneys in the case could not be reached for comment.

Experts have advised that employers testing their workers for COVID-19 should be wary of inadvertently also collecting biometric information in violation of state privacy laws.