Vimeo Wants Appellate Court To Compel Arbitration In Biometric Privacy Battle

Online video company Vimeo wants a federal appellate court to compel arbitration of a battle over biometric privacy.

On Thursday, the company initiated an appeal of U.S. District Court Judge Matthew Kennelly's recent decision allowing Illinois resident Bradley Acaley to proceed with claims against Vimeo in court.

The battle dates to last September, when Acaley filed a class-action complaint alleging that Vimeo's Magisto app, purchased last year for a reported $200 million, violates the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act.

That law prohibits companies from collecting scans of “face geometry” without users' written consent. The measure provides for damages of up to $5,000 per violation.

Acaley alleged that he downloaded Magisto in December of 2017, and purchased a one-year subscription for $120. He uploaded photos and videos of himself and his family to Magisto, and then used the service to edit the material, according to his complaint.



He claimed Magisto analyzed his videos and photos by automatically scanning his face and extracting geometric data.

Vimeo denied the allegations last year, stating that Magisto draws on "machine learning technology to help identify objects within video frames,” but does not collect facial-recognition data.

The company urged Kennelly to send the dispute to arbitration, arguing Magisto's terms of service included a requirement to arbitrate disputes.

Kennelly denied that request, writing that the arbitration agreement had an exception for claims relating to invasion of privacy.

Vimeo hasn't yet presented any substantive arguments to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. The company's deadline to do so is July 28.

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