Another BIPA class action was filed this week – this time against Google. Again. Google has been sued under BIPA before, and for seemingly the same violations as here, i.e., creating “face prints” from photos stored in Google Photos without having obtained prior, informed written consent. The Complaint that was filed this week alleges: “Google created, collected, and stored, in conjunction with its cloud-based ‘Google Photos’ service, millions of ‘face templates’ (or ‘face prints’) – highly detailed geometric maps of the face – from millions of Google Photos users. Google creates the templates using sophisticated facial recognition technology that extracts and analyzes data from the points and contours of the faces that appear in photos taken on Google Android devices and uploaded to the cloud-based Google Photos service. Each face template that Google extracts is unique to a particular individual, in the same way that a fingerprint or voiceprint uniquely identifies one and only one person.” Like those that came before it, this BIPA case is about the fact that Google failed to obtain informed written consent prior to creating, collecting and storing the “face prints.” “The Google Photos app, which comes pre-installed on all Google Android devices, is default to automatically upload all photos taken by the Android device user to the cloud-based Google Photos service.” Google uses the “face prints” it creates to locate and group together photos for organizational purposes.
Time will tell, but it’s possible that this case could trump the recent $550 million Facebook BIPA settlement as the biggest BIPA settlement of all time.