Microsoft Wants Uber Drivers’ Facial Recognition Privacy Case Tossed on Jurisdictional Grounds

A motion filed by Microsoft Corporation earlier this week said that the remaining biometric privacy claims pending against it over Uber’s use of its facial recognition technology “Real Time ID Check” must be dismissed for want of jurisdiction. According to Tuesday’s filing, the plaintiffs cannot hale Microsoft into court in Illinois because the court has neither general nor specific jurisdiction over it.

By way of background, each of the plaintiffs is an Illinois resident and Uber driver. They claimed that Uber forced them to submit personally identifying information, including a profile picture, and use Microsoft’s Real Time ID Check to confirm their identity before accepting rides each shift. Their suit alleged that the consentless capture and storage of their faceprints was illegal under the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA). 

Last month, the court returned several claims to state court at the plaintiffs’ insistence.

In Tuesday’s motion, Microsoft moved to dismiss the remaining claims for want of jurisdiction. The company said that none of the bases for general jurisdiction applies as it is a  Washington-headquartered, Delaware-incorporated company and that it was not sued for conduct relating to contact with Illinois.

Further, the motion argued no specific jurisdiction exists because “the record makes clear that Microsoft did nothing more than offer a technology ‘that is accessible from, but does not target,’ Illinois; accordingly, it ‘may not be haled into court’ here.” In addition, the company claimed not to have purposefully targeted the Illinois market by merely licensing its application to Uber.

The plaintiffs cannot argue otherwise, the motion said, asserting that their theory is “a far cry from the deliberate targeting of Illinois that the Constitution requires before holding that Microsoft has subjected itself to Plaintiffs’ suit here.”

The plaintiffs are represented by McGuire Law P.C. and Microsoft by Bradley Riley Jacobs PC and Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP.