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Dean John, et. al. v. Clearview AI, Inc.

Related Lawyers: James J. Pizzirusso, Scott Martin, Steven Nathan
Related Practice Areas: Cybersecurity and Privacy

Hausfeld represents several plaintiffs in a putative class action against Clearview AI filed in the Southern District of New York. Hausfeld has asserted claims on behalf of our clients and a putative class (and subclasses) for violations of the Illinois Biometric Privacy Act (“BIPA”), which prohibits a private entity broadly from possessing and selling a person’s biometric information without first informing and receiving permission to do so. Additionally, BIPA imposes requirements that require the storage of any such images must be undertaken using a reasonable standard of care. Here, our clients allege that Clearview AI failed to comply with the BIPA requirements.

Clearview AI is a for-profit technology company that markets and licenses facial recognition software. Clearview collects billions of personal photographs from across the internet, including from individuals’ personal accounts on social media, by using “scraping” or “data mining” techniques to obtain these images without the owner’s consent and in violation of the social media sites’ terms of service. It then extracts biometric information from the photographs and aggregates this data into a massive surveillance database capable of identifying hundreds of millions of Americans in seconds with just a picture. 

Clearview AI marketed this technology for a profit to law enforcement agencies for use in assisting in identifying alleged perpetrators and victims of crime. As a result of a data breach, it emerged that Clearview AI had not limited its product to law enforcement, but, in fact, had also licensed its technology to commercial enterprises, such as retail stores, entertainment and sports venues, and even to a foreign governments and thereby further profited from the use of its database containing the images of individuals without their consent and without compensation.

In addition to BIPA, we have also asserted claims, on behalf of a California subclass, for violations of California’s Unfair Competition law, common law right of publicity, and California Constitutional right to privacy. Hausfeld additionally asserted claims on behalf of a nationwide class and subclasses for intentional interference with contractual relations and unjust enrichment.

The plaintiffs and the class are seeking injunctive relief against Clearview AI, as well as statutory, compensatory, and punitive damages.

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