Biometric data privacy claims against USPS, American Airlines dismissed

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A lawsuit alleging that the United States Postal Service (USPS) violated e-government law with its investigative wing’s use of facial biometrics has been dismissed in federal court, Mondaq reports.

The USPS-run Internet Covert Operations Program (iCOP) uses facial recognition as part of a program to monitor social media posts for threats. The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) alleged that the program broke the law by failing to perform a data privacy impact assessment.

The USPS decided to dismiss the lawsuit against iCOP’s facial recognition program in October.

The court sided with the USPS, finding a lack of standing on the part of EPIC, due to the absence of any particular injury alleged. The same criteria have been a barrier to hearing certain claims under Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) in federal court.

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Two claims remaining in federal court regarding the use of voice biometrics in American Airlines’ Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system do not need to proceed to state court due to status considerations similar, nor do they need to be heard in federal court, the Cook County record reports. The two charges remaining in federal court in the case brought by two US customers were dismissed because the Airline Deregulation Act supersedes state laws except in certain situations.

According to Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer, applying BIPA to the airline would require it to collect written consent from people in Illinois before providing customer service to them over the phone.

A biometric data privacy claim remains outstanding in Cook County.

The alleged use of voice recognition by PetSmart in Illinois for an automated warehouse management system without required written consent, storage information and policies has led to a potential class action lawsuit, HR Diving writing.

Online monitoring services

A motion to dismiss a BIPA lawsuit against Respondus, the college’s remote test proctor provider, has been dismissed, according to a separate article from the Cook County Record.

Judge Pallmeyer, who also presided over the American Airlines case above, dismissed some but not all of Respondus’ motions. The monitoring company had argued that the terms under which students use its service included an agreement to use Washington state law for all legal disputes, but Judge Pallmeyer ruled that the terms did not reflect a genuine choice for Illinois students. Pallmeyer also ruled that “student terms” agreed to by students before the test do not constitute written consent under BIPA because they do not specifically state that the company will collect biometric data.

Plaintiff’s argument that Respondus had improperly benefited from biometric facial scans “convoluted”, dismissing the claim and one of the concrete harms related to Respondus’ lack of data retention schedules. These claims could, however, be pursued at the state level.

The lawsuit was filed by students at Lewis University, and Respondus faces separate claims from students attending DePaul and Resurrection universities.

A similar lawsuit against Proctorio was settled, the plaintiff admitting that “some of his comments on Proctorio were imprecise and presented without context”, as noted Inside Higher Education.

A joint statement by plaintiff and defendant clarifies that Proctorio uses biometric face detection, but not facial recognition, and that not all student browser traffic is routed through the company’s servers. The complaint was filed in April 2021.

More soon

Elsewhere in biometric data privacy lawsuit news, a user agreement with Snapchat signed by a minor was improperly overturned, a federal appeals panel has heard, sending the case to an arbitrator, as she continued to use the service, and did not cancel the agreement concluded while underage. the Cook County record reports that the arbitrator will be responsible for determining whether the arbitration clause in the service user agreement should apply to the minor.

Amazon’s attempt to have claims against it under BIPA for processing photos uploaded to its service with biometrics rejected for lack of jurisdiction has been dismissed, according to Bloomberg Law. The tech giant had argued that Washington law applied in the case, rather than Illinois law. Some of the claims against Amazon have been moved to state court.

A claim against Ralph Lauren filed by a former employee over a time and attendance system will go foreword, Business Insurance writing.

The insurer of Wynndalco Enterprises, a consulting firm that allegedly helped Chicago police use Clearview AI’s facial recognition database, must defend its client against two potential class action lawsuits, according to Reuters.

A Federal Court decision found that Citizens Insurance Company’s policy of excluding Wynndalco’s coverage was too ambiguous to release it from liability.

Article topics

biometric data | BIPA | data collection | data protection | facial biometrics | trial | monitoring | confidentiality | voice biometrics

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