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30 Aug 2021

Adam Schwartz, Electronic Frontier Foundation

US: Lawsuit against Clearview’s face surveillance upholds law requiring companies to obtain 'opt-in' consent

"Victory! Lawsuit Proceeds Against Clearview’s Face Surveillance", 30 August 2021.

Face surveillance is a growing menace to racial justice, privacy, and free speech. So EFF supports laws that ban government use of this dangerous technology, and laws requiring corporations to get written opt-in consent from a person before collecting their faceprint.

...Clearview AI... extracts faceprints from billions of people without their consent and uses these faceprints to help police identify suspects. For example, police in Miami worked with Clearview to identify participants in a recent protest...

Clearview’s faceprinting violates the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA), which requires opt-in consent to obtain someone’s faceprint. As a result, Clearview now faces many BIPA lawsuits...

In both Illinois and federal court, Clearview argues that the First Amendment bars these BIPA claims. We disagree and filed an amicus brief saying so in each case.

Last week, the judge in the Illinois state case rejected Clearview’s First Amendment defense, denied the company’s motion to dismiss, and allowed the ACLU’s lawsuit to move forward. This is a significant victory for our privacy over Clearview’s profits...

[T]he court upheld the application of BIPA’s opt-in consent requirement to Clearview’s faceprinting...

As to Clearview’s argument that BIPA hurts its business model, the court stated: “That is a function of having forged ahead and blindly created billions of faceprints without regard to the legality of that process in all states.”