Tesla hit with biometric privacy suit for alleged facial scans

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Tesla Inc. disregards drivers’ biometric privacy rights by scanning their faces in its vehicles as part of its Autopilot and fully autonomous driving systems, according to a proposed class action lawsuit filed in state court. ‘Illinois.

Austin, Texas-based electric vehicle maker scans drivers’ faces with in-cab camera, but company does so without obtaining informed consent from Illinois drivers in violation of privacy law state biometrics, alleged plaintiff Peter Platt in a complaint filed March 11 in the Illinois Circuit Court.

The Autopilot system is included in all Tesla Model 3 and Model Y cars, and the full self-driving system is an add-on for paying subscribers, according to the complaint. The biometric camera uses face and eye tracking to ensure drivers are watching the road when self-driving technology is used, Platt said.

Tesla collected, stored and analyzed Platt’s facial geometry in December 2021 while driving a Model 3 car in Illinois and had the Autopilot feature turned on, according to the complaint.

“Defendant collected Plaintiff’s biometric data for storage and data redundancy purposes to help train its machine learning models, as the vehicle Plaintiff was driving had its ‘data sharing’ feature enabled. “, wrote the lawyers representing Platt.

Tesla also failed to make public its data retention policy informing consumers of the location of facial biometric data collected by the company, Platt argued.

The proposed class seeks statutory damages of $5,000 for each willful violation of BIPA.

Cause of Action: Violation of biometric information privacy law.

Relief: Class certification, injunction, statutory damages, attorney fees.

Potential class size: Hundreds.

Response: Tesla representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Lawyers: McGuire Law PC represents Platt and the proposed class.

The case is Platt v Tesla Inc., Ill. Cir. Ct., n° 2022LA236, complaint of 11/03/22.

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