Sprawling Biometric Privacy Legal Assault on Camera Maker Churns On

By Jim Nash

A U.S. privacy case in state court that accuses a Chinese surveillance camera maker of “corporate voyeurism” has been narrowed to the benefit of the defendant. More generally, the defendant is accused of making false product claims.

Anker Innovations, maker of the Eufy camera, is accused in an Illinois federal court of violating the state’s Biometric Information Privacy Act and other consumer laws.

It allegedly collects and holds face biometrics in violation of BIPA.

The judge in the case has rejected some arguments made by the plaintiffs, although it is unclear what impact the decisions will have.

That is because the judge is permitting the plaintiffs, a pair of Illinois residents, to re-argue the positions she dismissed in court.

They are charging Anker with, among other things, violation of biometric privacy and wiretap laws as well as unjust enrichment.

They want to file similar biometric privacy cases in the states of Massachusetts, Florida, California and New York. It is not immediately clear if decisions made in the Illinois case impact the others.

A central allegation in the case (No. 2022cv07174) is that face scans, sometimes from those of people waking past a system owner’s video doorbell, were being stored insecurely in Amazon’s Web Services clouds servers.

Court documents state that the vendor promised consumers that all recorded images would be “transmitted to you, and only you.”

The plaintiffs , who are seeking $2 million in damages, further say Anker stated it would store any biometric identifiers locally. They also allege that security claims were ignored.

The case involves some complexities around the applicability of wiretap laws and the scope of eligible classes under the different laws, which Law360 has a good summation of.

Source: Biometric Update

Jim Nash is a business journalist. His byline has appeared in The New York Times, Investors Business Daily, Robotics Business Review and other publications. You can find Jim on LinkedIn.

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