Shutterfly asks judge to dismiss facial recognition suit
30 November 2015 11:43 GMT

The company which owns image organiser app Shutterfly has asked a Federal judge in Illinois to dismiss a privacy suit raised against its facial recognition technology.

In May, Illinois resident Brian Norberg filed a suit claiming Shutterfly violated the Illinois biometric privacy law by including his "faceprint" in a database after his photo was uploaded to the service by someone else.

Norberg stated that he never gave Shutterfly permission to store the "biometric identifiers or biometric information associated with his face template."

Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act requires that before collecting and storing any biometric identifier, defined as “a retina or iris scan, fingerprint, voiceprint, or scan of hand or face geometry,” the subject of collection be informed in writing

"Helping a user re-identify his own friends within his own digital photo album does not violate any law," Shutterfly writes in a dismissal motion filed on Friday with U.S. District Court Judge Charles Norgle in Illinois.

But the company said in its dismissal motion: "Photographs and any information gleaned from photographs cannot be biometric identifiers."

It adds that that Illinois lawmakers passed the privacy law due to concerns about companies' use of data for security screenings or financial transactions, as opposed to "scans of pixels in a photograph used to help individuals organize their online photo albums."

"The risks associated with capturing biometric information for commercial use are not limited to social media. As the rapid evolution of biometric imaging technologies has made them less expensive and more accessible, businesses of all types have started using biometric imaging as part of their physical security protocols and to aid in targeted sales and marketing efforts," wrote US law firm Hunton & Williams LLP in an opinion piece published this week in Lexology.

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