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BIPA Cases Target Impropriety Among Tech Giants

October 26, 2016 | David P. MilianArticles

A recent article in Bloomberg Technology looks at the terms of two class action suits brought by Carey Rodriguez Milian Gonya, LLP against Google, Inc. and Facebook, Inc. The cases seek statutory damages for the plaintiffs for the unauthorized collection and storage of their biometric data through the two firms' facial recognition software.

Illinois' Biometric Information Privacy Act is one of the few statutes nationwide that protect consumers against the unlawful collection of their most personal and permanent identifiers. As both Google and Facebook currently use technology to scan their users' facial geometry without express consent, the companies' actions represent of violation of Illinois state law.

The article assesses some of the risks associated with biometric data collection.

"The billions of images Facebook is thought to be collecting could be even more valuable to identity thieves than the names, addresses, and credit card numbers now targeted by hackers, according to privacy advocates and legal experts," the author notes.

"While those types of information are mutable -- even Social Security numbers can be changed -- biometric data for retinas, fingerprints, hands, face geometry and blood samples, are unique identifiers." 

CRMG partner David Milian, representing the plaintiffs in the firm's BIPA class actions, explained the importance of litigation in the absence of federal statutes protecting consumers. "Biometric data privacy is a very important emerging area of law, and our firm is committed to continuing to lead these historic new cases that may define how such sensitive, private data is handled in the future."

Read the full article in Bloomberg here.