Snapchat Wants Privacy Case Sent To Arbitration

Snapchat has asked a federal judge to send a biometrics-privacy lawsuit against the company to arbitration.

Snapchat says in new court papers that the people who sued, Illinois residents Jose Luis Martinez and Malcolm Neal, agreed to Snapchat's terms of service -- including a requirement that all disputes be settled through arbitration.

"A valid arbitration agreement exists, and it encompasses this dispute," Snapchat writes in papers filed this week with U.S. District Court Judge Stephen Wilson in Los Angeles.

The company's papers come in response to a lawsuit centered on Snapchat's "Lenses" -- filters that allow people to supplement their selfies with animation and graphics.

Martinez and Neal alleged in a potential class-action that Snapchat scans users' faces each time they use Lenses, and then stores information about people's face geometry. They say the company is violating the Illinois Biometric Privacy Information Act, which requires companies to obtain written releases from people before collecting certain biometric data, including scans of face geometry. That measure, passed in 2008, also requires companies that gather biometric data to notify people about the practice, and to publish a schedule for destroying the information.



In addition to arguing that the case belongs in arbitration, Snapchat denies that Lenses uses facial recognition technology. "Instead, it uses object recognition technology, which allows Lenses to identify a nose as a nose or an eye as an eye, but does not -- and cannot -- identify a nose or an eye, let alone a whole face, as belonging to any specific person," the company wrote in court papers.

Snapchat isn't the only company facing lawsuits for allegedly violating the Illinois measure. Google and Facebook also are defending themselves from similar accusations.

The lawsuit against Google is pending in federal court in Illinois, while the matter against Facebook is in federal court in California.

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