Google facing lawsuit over biometric privacy
07 March 2016 12:45 GMT

Internet search giant Google has become the latest tech firm to face a lawsuit filed under an Illinois law over the use of facial recognition technology and photo sharing.

A Chicago resident named Lindabeth Rivera filed a class action complaint March 1 in federal court in Chicago, accusing the Google of violating the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act.

Similar lawsuits under the law have in recent months been filed against Facebook and fellow social network, Shutterfly.

The 2008 BIPA states that private entities are barred from obtaining and possessing biometrics without meeting certain conditions. The law defines a biometric identifier as “any personal feature that is unique to an individual, including fingerprints, iris scans, DNA and ‘face geometry,’ among others”.

Rivera’s complaint states that Google’s cloud-based Google Photos service has “created, collected and stored” millions of “face templates or face prints — highly detailed geometric maps of the face — from millions of Illinois residents, many thousands of whom are not even enrolled in the Google Photos service”.

In January, a federal judge in Illinois dismissed a lawsuit against Facebook, saying the company doesn't have enough connections with the state so cannot be sued in Illinois for allegedly creating a "faceprint" database.