New York, NY: A putative class action lawsuit alleging privacy violations has been filed against Shutterfly Inc. The software uses facial recognition technology to create and store millions of face templates without permission, the lawsuit asserts, which is violation of an Illinois state law, where the complaint was filed. The state' Biometric Information Privacy Act protects residents' control over their biometric data.
Filed by Illinois resident Brian Norber, the complaint asserts that online image publisher Shutterfly and its subsidiary ThisLife LLC collect facial recognition data from user-uploaded photos without first notifying individuals and receiving their written consent, and by failing to inform them how long the information will be stored and how it will be used.
"pecifically, defendants have created, collected and stored millions of 'face templates' (or 'face prints') ??" highly detailed geometric maps of the face ??" from millions of individuals, many thousands of whom are non Shutterfly users residing in the state of Illinois,"the complaint states.
"Defendants in this case made no effort whatsoever to obtain consent from unwitting third parties when they introduced their facial recognition technology,"the complaint state. "Not only do defendants' actions fly in the face of FCC guidelines, they also violate the privacy rights of Illinois residents."
Notably, Illinois law also prohibits companies that collect biometric data from selling it to third parties.
Norberg seeks to hold defendants liable to the class for statutory damages of $5,000 for each intentional and reckless violation, and $1,000 for each violation resulting from defendants' negligence.
Norberg is represented by David P. Milian and Frank S. Hedin of Carey Rodriguez O'Keefe Milian Gonya LLP and Katrina Carroll of Lite DePalma Greenberg LLC. The case is Brian Norberg v. Shutterfly Inc. et al., case number 1:15-cv-05351, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.