Macy’s Sued for Using Facial Recognition and Violating Biometric Privacy with Clearview AI

By B.N. Frank

Illinois has a state law that protects residents’ biometric information. Five years ago a federal lawsuit was filed against Facebook for violating this law by using Facial Recognition technology in its “tag suggestion” services. The company recently offered $650M to settle it. Now Macy’s is being sued for similar violations.

From Biometric Update:

Macy’s use of Clearview AI’s face biometrics violated Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA), according to a proposed class action suit filed in Chicago federal court and reported by BNN Bloomberg.

The suit alleges that Macy’s used Clearview’s facial recognition to identify shoppers using images from security cameras, violating BIPA’s informed consent requirements. Clearview is not named as a defendant in the suit.

Macy’s was among several large retailers alleged to have used Clearview’s technology in reporting by BuzzFeed and the New York Times. Macy’s is alleged to have used the app for more than 6,000 searches.

The filing from plaintiff Isela Carmine says that Macy’s profited from the use of stolen data by using the app to “stalk or track” customers, and violated customer privacy. The suit Carmine v. Macy’s, 20-cv-04589 is being heard in the Northern District of Illinois by Judge Marvin Aspen.

Other large retailers including Home Depot have been sued under BIPA over allegations involving their security cameras and loss prevention systems.

A formal complaint was recently filed against Clearview in France, alleging GDPR violations, and the company is also facing its own BIPA suits.

A growing number of businesses are using facial recognition, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and other technology to collect data for what’s sometimes being referred to as “Surveillance Capitalism.” Businesses and other entities are often doing this without customers’ knowledge or consent. An appropriately titled documentary – The Creepy Line – was produced about this practice which is creepy indeed.

Activist Post Recommended Book: The Age of Surveillance Capitalism

Activist Post reports regularly about unsafe technology. For more information, visit our archives.

Image: Pixabay

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