A Collective action was brought against Google Photos, initiated by Vaudreuil-Dorion resident Michael Homsy. He claims that users have not given their consent for the American giant to analyze the data from the pictures uploaded there.
This motion presented to the Superior Court more specifically targets FaceNet facial recognition technology. The photos are converted into biometric data.
The system recognizes a face by comparing it to those already present in its database. According to Google, its efficiency is 99.96%.
“Google Photos performs this extraction […] without taking into consideration whether a particular face belongs to a user or to a non-user whose face appears in the photo ”, we can read.
Mr. Homsy accuses Google of having violated, in particular, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Civil Code of Quebec with regard to the protection of personal information.
He wants the company “to pay material, moral and punitive damages in the amount to be determined by the Court during the trial” to all Quebecers who have been using the service since October 2015.
The Vaudreuillois had been using Google’s cloud computing service since buying an Android cell phone in March. It was only in January that he learned that the web giant was registering his biometric data.
In the meantime, he had uploaded 5,500 photos to the service. He then began to migrate his content to the Dropbox platform, causing him an annual fee of $ 171.
“At the thought that this personal biometric data is in the hands of third parties without having control over its use, the complainant was struck by feelings of helplessness, betrayal, fear, stress and anxiety”, we say.
The class action lawsuit against Google Photos must now be cleared by a judge, which could take several months.
Google declined to comment on the matter as the case is in court.