Apple Privacy Class Action Triumphs Over Effort to Dismiss

The class action suit brought against Apple Inc. for violations of the Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) has overcome its first hurdle. The company had motioned to dismiss the three counts of BIPA violations brought against it, but on June 14, a judge declined to dismiss two of the counts. 

The suit centers around Apple’s proprietary Photos app, which comes pre-installed on all of their devices. The app contains software that uses facial geometry to create a unique “faceprint” for people in photos. Face-prints that are frequently observed are compiled into albums for each individual. Apple does not delete the biometric face data it collects from people’s photos, and users cannot opt out of the facial data collection. 

(Image credit: Apple)

Plaintiffs argue these practices place their sensitive personal data at risk as this data could fall into the wrong hands should their Apple device be compromised. As a result, they brought forth charges for three separate violations of BIPA, which are as follows:

Count I: violation of BIPA section 14/15b for collection of biometric data without first notifying users and obtaining their consent. 

Count II: violation of BIPA section 14/15a for collecting and possessing biometric data without creating a written and publicly available plan outlining a storage schedule for said data and guidelines for its eventual destruction.

Count III: violation of BIPA section 14/15c for profiting off of biometric identifiers, which the plaintiffs allege Apple did by marketing its technology’s photo sorting software capabilities. 

Judge Nancy Rosenstengel dismissed count III on the grounds that Apple did not profit off of the Plaintiffs’ individual biometric data, but did not dismiss the other two counts. This means the case may move forward, and the class is one step closer to having their day in court.

Mitena Partners will be following this case closely as legal proceedings continue. Be on the lookout for news on this and other cases you may qualify for by subscribing to our newsletter and checking for updates on our blog.

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