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Will Faceprints Lead to Biometric Ratings? It's Already Happening in China

March 16, 2016 | David P. MilianArticles

In recent months, Carey Rodriguez Milian Gonya, LLP has been involved in several landmark suits brought against major tech firms such as Shutterfly and Facebook over alleged violations of the Illinois Biometric Privacy Act.

Although Illinois is currently only one of two states with biometric privacy legislation, there are increasing calls from advocates to expand similar protections to other states, citing concerns over how this data is stored and what it is used for.

In China, there is already one frightening example of biometric data being used in a way that can only be described as demeaning. According to a news brief cited by Quartz, a shopping mall in Tianjin celebrated International Women's Day last week with hefty discounts for women, but only those deemed ‘attractive’ by a face scanner. After storing and analyzing shoppers' faceprints, the technology determines their eligibility for discounts based on the desirability of their facial features.

The incident raises concerns over the lack of regulation in the US on biometric information collection and usage.

"Currently there are many major technology and social media companies that are gathering biometric data without the consent or awareness of users, and there is very little restricting these companies from using this data in any way they wish in the future," says David Milian, lead counsel on the suits brought against Google, Facebook, and Shutterfly.

"There are far-reaching implications and unknown consequences related to the uses of biometric data, and the privacy concerns are legitimate and well founded," he says.

Read the full article on Quartz here, and the news brief on eNorth here (link in Chinese).