Litigation Update: Clearview Al Privacy Lawsuit Remanded to State Court

by | Jan 29, 2021

Clearview Al, a facial recognition technology company, is facing a series of lawsuits. Plaintiffs claim that the company was “scraping together” facial data from various social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and selling access to a compiled database of biometrical facial identifiers and information to local businesses in the Illinois area. This allowed those with access to the database to identify individual citizens and gain access to personal information. The case was originally filed in state court, and Clearview requested it be removed to federal district court. However, it was in fact remanded to state court due to the failure to allege an Article III injury.

The Seventh Circuit held that the biometric privacy lawsuit case was correctly remanded to state court and it emphasized in the decision that “allegations matter” in determining individual standing. It was clear that the plaintiffs took time and diligence in accusing Clearview Al of unlawfully profiting from their images. The plaintiffs here were permitted to move forward with the suit under Illinois law, which permits biometric privacy accusations under the Biometric Information Privacy Act, without being required to show any further injury. In other words, there was no need for the plaintiffs to be subjected to a higher level of judicial scrutiny because their claims were completely legitimate under state law.

The JPML established last December, that the suit will in fact be centralized in the Northern District of Illinois for the purpose of conserving judicial resources among all parties. The panel found that the claims have a common question of fact, and that the centralization in this district will promote efficient litigation. The efficiency will arise from the fact that the centralization will eliminate a “duplicative discovery” process. The court has consolidated the actions and appointed interim class counsel for the time being.

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