Vimeo Sued For Storing Faceprints of People Without Their Consent

The ad-free video platform Vimeo is collecting and storing thousands of people’s facial biometrics without their permission or knowledge, according to a complaint filed on September 20 on behalf of potentially thousands of plaintiffs under the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA). Naked Security reports: The suit takes aim at Vimeo’s Magisto application: a short-form video creation platform purchased by Vimeo in April 2019 that uses facial recognition to automatically index the faces of people in videos so they can be face-tagged. BIPA bans collecting and storing biometric data without explicit consent, including “faceprints.” The complaint against Vimeo claims that users of Magisto “upload millions of videos and/or photos per day, making videos and photographs a vital part of the Magisto experience.”

The complaint against Vimeo claims that users of Magisto “upload millions of videos and/or photos per day, making videos and photographs a vital part of the Magisto experience.” The court document points to a Magisto website, “How Does Magisto Video Editor Work?” that touts its “so-called ‘artificial intelligence engines’ that intuitively analyze and edit video content” using “facial detection and recognition technology.” The complaint maintains that unbeknownst to the average consumer, Magisto scans “each and every video and photo uploaded to Magisto for faces” and analyzes “biometric identifiers,” including facial geometry, to “create and store a template for each face.” That template is later used to “organize and group together videos based upon the particular individuals appearing in the videos” by “comparing the face templates of individuals who appear in newly-edited videos or photos with the facial templates already saved in Magisto’s face database.”

The complaint also asserts that Magisto analyzes and face-matches the biometrics of non-Magisto users who happen to appear in the photos and videos, which is a violation of BIPA.

The suit is looking for $5,000 per class member, along with court fees.