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11 Aug 2020

Robert Channick, Chicago Tribune

USA: Privacy lawsuit challenges Macy's use of facial recognition software

"Macy’s hit with privacy lawsuit over alleged use of controversial facial recognition software," 11 August 2020

A Chicago woman has filed a lawsuit alleging Macy’s violated Illinois’ biometric privacy law by using video surveillance cameras and facial recognition technology on its customers…The suit alleges Macy’s is a client of technology startup Clearview AI, which has created facial recognition software that scrapes social media images to build a massive database.

…Macy’s said…it does not comment on pending litigation.

…BuzzFeed News reported it obtained leaked internal documents from Clearview that showed Macy’s, Best Buy, Kohl’s and Walmart were among more than 200 corporate clients under contract for facial recognition services.

Clearview, which is not named as a defendant in the lawsuit, did not respond to a request for comment.

…Biometric privacy has been a growing concern in the age of artificial intelligence and social media. In January, Facebook agreed to pay $550 million [increased to $650 million] to Illinois users to settle a class-action lawsuit alleging its facial tagging feature violated their privacy rights.

…In May, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against Clearview…alleging the facial recognition startup violated the state’s biometric privacy law and embodied a privacy “nightmare” by capturing “untold quantities” of user photos and data from the internet without consent.