Vimeo Faces Class-Action Lawsuit Over Unconsented Storage Of Users’ Biometric Data

The popular video platform Vimeo is now in hot water for breaching users’ privacy. Vimeo faces a class-action lawsuit for storing biometric data of users without prior consent.

Vimeo Faces Lawsuit Over Data Storage

Vimeo Inc. has been slapped with a class-action lawsuit as it violated users’ privacy and stored data without consent. The plaintiff has claimed that the said service violated the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act.

The BIPA, as implemented by Illinois Legislature, regulates how private firms access and store users’ biometric data. This applies to facial scans, retina scans, and fingerprints. Specifically, it requires the respective firms to explicitly inform the users about the collection and storage of such data and the purpose of such activity in writing. Moreover, it also requires the firms to receive written consent in this regard from the respective individuals. And, they should also publicly disclose the retention guidelines and subsequent permanent deletion of such data.

According to the lawsuit, Vimeo has clearly violated BIPA as it actively collected ‘faceprints’ (biometric data) without following stated requirements.

As stated in the filed lawsuit,

Specifically, Vimeo has created, collected and stored, in conjunction with its cloudbased Magisto service, thousands of “face templates” (or “face prints”)—highly detailed geometric maps of the face—from thousands of Magisto users.

The plaintiff believes that Vimeo is directly storing such data that is unique to every user.

Vimeo creates these templates using sophisticated facial recognition technology that extracts and analyzes data from the points and contours of faces that appear in photos and videos taken on mobile devices and uploaded to the Magisto app. Each face template that Vimeo extracts is unique to a particular individual, in the same way that a fingerprint or voiceprint uniquely identifies one and only one person.

The plaintiff, an Illinois-based citizen, has thus filed this lawsuit against the Delaware and New York-based firm Vimeo in an attempt to prevent the firm ‘from further violating the privacy rights’ and to recover the damages.

Vimeo’s Clarification

In response to the lawsuit, Vimeo has released a statement explaining their stance. As explained, Vimeo’s Magisto App is in no way intended to collect facial data. They deem the lawsuit to be based on a misunderstanding about the working of Magisto.

To help customers create better videos faster, Magisto uses machine learning technology to help identify objects within video frames. Determining whether an area represents a human face or a volleyball does not equate to “facial recognition,” and Magisto neither collects nor retains any facial information capable of recognizing an individual.

Vimeo further states that they are ready to explain the same in the court.

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