A first amended complaint was filed in the Northern District of Illinois on Friday against Clearview AI, Inc., Rocky Mountain Data Analytics LLC and Macy’s Inc. by numerous American citizens. This comes after Clearview allegedly took billions of photographs and uploaded it to their biometric database without the plaintiffs’ consent. The amended complaint was filed in a consolidated case captioned In Re: Clearview AI Consumer Privacy Litigation.
The plaintiffs alleged that Clearview “covertly scraped three billion photographs of facial images from the internet,” going so far as to “use artificial intelligence algorithms to scan the face geometry of each individual depicted in the photographs in order to harvest the individuals’ unique biometric identifiers and corresponding biometric information.” The defendants allegedly created a biometric database that governmental and private entities were given access to. The plaintiffs commented that one of Clearview’s investors said that “Clearview may be laying the groundwork for a ‘dystopian future.’” Macy’s has used the database “over 6,000 times” as well. The Chicago Police Department and Illinois Secretary of State have purportedly used the database as well, among other government agencies.
The class members “have no recourse for the fact that their biologically unique information has been compromised” and “are likely to withdraw from biometric-facilitated transactions and other facially-mediated electronic participation” if given the opportunity. The plaintiffs are worried about the implications of biometric databases and how their information may be used to enrich public and private entities across the globe.
The plaintiffs sued on the counts of seven violations of Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act, violation of Virginia Code Section 8.01-40, violation of the Virginia Computer Crimes Act, violation of California’s Unfair Competition Law, violation of California Civil Code Section 3344(a), violation of California’s common law right of publicity, California’s constitutional right to privacy, violation of New York’s Civil Rights Law, unjust enrichment and the Declaratory Judgment Act.
The plaintiffs are seeking class certification, damages, permanent injunctive relief to stop Clearview from taking biometric data, pre- and post-judgment interest, attorney’s fees and costs and other relief.