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Capture of Dating Site Profiles Prompts Suit Against AI Firm (1)

Feb. 14, 2020, 4:51 PMUpdated: Feb. 14, 2020, 10:08 PM

An artificial intelligence company’s alleged capture of OkCupid Inc. profile data without users’ approval has prompted a state court lawsuit in Illinois.

The complaint filed Thursday in Illinois Circuit Court in Chicago alleges that the company, Clarifai, violated the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act.

The New York Times reported in July 2019 that Clarifai allegedly created a “face database” of OkCupid users to train its facial recognition tools, according to plaintiff Jordan Stein’s complaint. Stein claims Clarifai worked with an investor tied to OkCupid to gain access to the data.

The complaint follows Facebook Inc.'s $550 million settlement to end biometric privacy claims made under the same Illinois law. Plaintiffs’ attorneys are using the law to go after tech companies that allegedly use biometric data, including facial recognition, without consent.

Under the Illinois law, companies can face up to $5,000 for each willful violation.

Companies including IBM Corp., Clearview AI, and Alphabet Inc.'s Google are currently facing actions under the law for allegedly using facial recognition data without consent.

Causes of Action: Violations of the Illinois BIometric Information Privacy Act.

Relief: Class certification; statutory damages; injunctive relief; disgorgement of profits; and attorneys’ fees and costs.

Response: “OkCupid did not enter into any commercial agreement at that time with Clarifai, and has no relationship with the company now,” said Michael Kaye, global communications manager for the dating website. A representatives for Clarifai didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Attorneys: Keogh Law represented Stein. Attorneys for Clarifai couldn’t be immediately identified.

The case is Stein v. Clarifai, Inc., Ill. Cir. Ct., No. 2020-CH-01810, complaint filed 2/13/20.

(Adds OkCupid comment.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Daniel R. Stoller in Washington at dstoller@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Hughes at jhughes@bloomberglaw.com; Keith Perine at kperine@bloomberglaw.com

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