MIAMI, Jan. 7, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- A United States District Court in Illinois became the first court in the country to interpret a biometric privacy statute in a decision allowing a landmark lawsuit to go forward against the photo website Shutterfly brought by the law firm Carey Rodriguez Milian Gonya LLP.
In the potential class action case, BRIAN NORBERG vs. SHUTTERFLY, INC.; and THISLIFE, INC (N.D. Ill., Case: 1:15-cv-05351), the plaintiff alleges that Shutterfly violates the Illinois Biometric Privacy Act by collecting and scanning face geometry in photos uploaded on Shutterfly's website without the consent of those featured in the images. In his ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Charles R. Norgle rejected Shutterfly's argument that only in-person scans of people's faces are covered under the statute and found that the collection of faceprints from photos is also covered under the statute. The statute, which also covers iris and fingerprint scans, provides for recoveries of $5,000 for each violation.
"There are serious privacy concerns related to the unauthorized capture and storage of biometric data by these companies, and currently Illinois is the only state to allow private citizens to sue," says David P. Milian, lead partner in the case at Carey Rodriguez. "The data privacy concerns are enormous. You can always change your password or get a new credit card or social security number if these websites are hacked, but you can't change your facial geometry."
The plaintiff, along with potentially millions of others, were never informed that these faceprints would be collected, where they would be stored, or for how long, which is required under the Illinois Biometric Privacy Act, the lawsuit alleges.
In addition to the case against Shutterfly, Carey Rodriguez is also leading separate claims against other companies on biometric data, including Facebook.
"Biometric data privacy is a very important emerging area of law, and our firm is committed to continuing to lead these historic new cases that may define how such sensitive, private data is handled in the future," said Milian.
With offices in Miami and Washington, D.C., Carey Rodriguez is a law firm specializing in complex commercial, intellectual property, and consumer class action litigation. More information about the Carey Rodriguez class action practice can be found on the firm website at http://www.careyrodriguez.com/.
SOURCE Carey Rodriguez Milian Gonya, LLP