Google wins biometric data privacy case

google building

Google has won a dismissal of the case brought after a woman claimed Google's facial recognition technology used her biometric details without permission. The judge cited a lack of "concrete injuries" as the reason for dismissal, Bloomberg reports.

The technology embedded in Google Photos analyses photos on the platform and creates faceprints, a geometric representation of a person's face, to understand who is in the photo. The claimant says she was unknowingly captured in 11 photos which were uploaded by a Google Photos user on Android.

This is just one of three cases brought against massive tech companies who have allegedly breached The Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act, America's toughest biometric privacy law.

Facebook is also facing a lawsuit because of its photo tagging feature. Currently, users will be asked if they want to tag the person in a photo because Facebook stores biometric data to identify people is in a given photo. The lawsuit alleges that this violates the privacy act because users don't give permission for their faceprint to be stored by Facebook.

In April, a judge ruled against a motion by Facebook to dismiss the case brought against it. The tech company, which experienced a rocky 2018 to say the least, faces a class action lawsuit for its tagging technology which allegedly violates the privacy law.

The Illinois act is a simple law which simply states that a person must give their consent for a company to take a biometric scan of their body. This includes face scans and other biometric identifiers including retina, iris and fingerprint scans.

These biometric scans are used commonly by Facebook as well as Snapchat, which is also facing a similar lawsuit for its scanning technology to enable the in-app Lenses feature.

Connor Jones
News and Analysis Editor

Connor Jones has been at the forefront of global cyber security news coverage for the past few years, breaking developments on major stories such as LockBit’s ransomware attack on Royal Mail International, and many others. He has also made sporadic appearances on the ITPro Podcast discussing topics from home desk setups all the way to hacking systems using prosthetic limbs. He has a master’s degree in Magazine Journalism from the University of Sheffield, and has previously written for the likes of Red Bull Esports and UNILAD tech during his career that started in 2015.