In big tech legal battles, the current landscape is mostly dominated by Epic Games lawsuit against Apple over App Store revenue. However, there is also a class action lawsuit involving Microsoft and Amazon currently ongoing.
According to the plaintiffs, both companies did not seek consent from Illinois residents before using facial recognition technology to store and analyze biometric information. You may remember both companies already faced legal action over use of facial recognition in Illinois last year.
In terms of Amazon, the company is accused of scanning the faces of users who upload images to Prime Photo. This is a photo storage app that allows users to store their personal images in the cloud.
As for Microsoft, the company is said to have used facial recognition technology on residents in Illinois through a partnership with ride-sharing giant Uber. Specifically, the company took data from bio authentication for the Uber app.
“The suit alleges, however, that Uber's “Real Time ID Check,” unbeknownst to drivers, works by providing a picture of the individual to Microsoft's API, which then extracts the driver's facial biometrics to build a geometric template that is then compared against the template from their original picture. Per the suit, Microsoft has failed to obtain proper consent and provide required disclosures to Illinois Uber drivers before collecting and storing their biometric data.”
The suit, which was brought by Uber driver Mario Pena who says Microsoft was in violation of the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA).
Beyond, the consent issue, Uber driver Mario Pena who launched the BIPA-related suit questions the security implications of Microsoft's involvement as it relates to fraud and ID theft perpetuated by his own biometrics stored on Microsoft's servers.
Microsoft has taken a firm and respectable stance regarding facial recognition technology. The company has called for concise regulation of the tech and has refused to work with companies thought to have shared facial data. Considering the company's stance, it is strange it seems to be flaunting people's privacy with the tech.
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