A trio of lawsuits filed Tuesday against Microsoft, Google owner Alphabet, and Amazon accuses the tech companies of training their facial recognition tools on photos of people that have not given their consent, which is a violation of Illinois law.
The photos in question were part of IBM's Diversity in Faces database, which is designed to advance the study of fairness and accuracy in facial recognition by looking at more than just skin tone, age and gender. The data includes 1 million images of human faces, annotated with tags such as face symmetry, nose length and forehead height.
The two Illinois residents who brought the lawsuits, Steven Vance and Tim Janecyk, say their images were included in that data set without their permission, despite clearly identifying themselves as residents of Illinois. Collection, storage and use of biometric information is illegal in the state without written consent under the Biometric Information Privacy Act, passed by the Illinois legislature in 2008.