Amazon Web Services Alerts Court to Recent Decision in Support of Dismissal of BIPA Case

Late last week, Amazon Web Services (AWS) pointed the Seattle, Wash. court overseeing the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) class action to a recent opinion by an Illinois state court concerning allegations made under the same law. AWS says that the ruling, finding no liability under BIPA in a suit against a security camera manufacturer, supports its pending motion to dismiss.

The case against AWS alleges that it violates BIPA by obtaining and storing information on its servers without consent of the plaintiff and putative class of Illinois college students who used online test taking software that employed Amazon Rekognition, a facial recognition service. Specifically, the software uses the technology to verify student identity, prompting students to upload images of themselves for comparison with photos on file, which also go to the software’s cloud service provider, AWS.

AWS moved to dismiss the suit arguing that the students are taking BIPA liability too far. Among other contentions, and as relevant to last week’s filing, AWS said it does not possess or collect data within the meaning of BIPA.

Last week, the defendant directed the court to authority expounding on BIPA’s scope. The company explained that the cited opinion involves a truck driver plaintiff who sued a security camera company that his trucking employer used to collect drivers’ facial biometric data while they drove company vehicles.

The plaintiff said the security firm failed to provide notice about biometric capture and obtain the requisite consent from drivers. In an oral decision, the Eighteenth Judicial Circuit of DuPage County, Illinois ruled that the security company satisfied its obligations under BIPA by contractually requiring the trucking company to comply with the law. The court also observed that it did not “know how else” the defendant could comply with BIPA given that it has no direct relationship with the trucking company employees.

AWS noted that plaintiffs’ counsel in the trucking company case, Edelson PC, is also a firm representing the plaintiff here. Carson Noel PLLC,  Bursor & Fisher P.A., and Carney Bates and Pulliam PLLC are other counsel for the plaintiff while Perkins Coie LLP represents AWS.