Vimeo, a video platform, has been accused of violating the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) for illegally storing, collecting and using individuals' biometric indentifiers and biometric information without written consent.
According to the lawsuit, the Illinois Legislature has found that "biometrics are unlike other unique identifiers that are used to access finances and other sensitive information." The lawsuit defines biometric identifiers as any personal feature that is unique to an individual, including fingerprints, iris sans, DNA and "face geometry" among others. "For example, social security numbers, when compromised, can be changed. Biometrics, however, are biologically unique to the individual; therefore, once compromised, the individual has no recourse, is at heightened risk for identity theft, and is likely to withdraw from biometric-facilitate transactions," says the lawsuit.
The lawsuit notes BIPA prohibits corporations from obtaining and/or possessing an individual's biometrics unless it:
- Informs the person in writing that biometric identifiers or information will be collected or stored
- Informs the person in writing of the specific purpose and length of term for which such biometric identifiers or biometric information is being collected, stored and used
- Receives a written release from the person for the collection of his or her biometric identifiers or information
- Publishes publicly available written retention schedules and guidelines for permanently destroying biometric identifiers and biometric information.
Vimeo, says the lawsuit, has violated BIPA by actively collecting, storing and using the biometrics of thousands of individuals throughout the U.S. whose faces appear in photographs and/or videos uploaded to the Magistro, a "snart video editor" application in Illinois. Through the Magistro app, Vimeo has also been creating templates using sophisticated facial recognition technology that extracts and analyzes data, says the lawsuit.