Illinois residents who booked a rental via Kasa.com and uploaded a photo ID and real-time scan of their face to verify their identity.
What’s Going On?
It’s believed that Kasa Living may have illegally collected and stored Illinois users’ facial geometries when they uploaded their IDs and live selfies for verification purposes. Attorneys are now gathering Kasa.com users in Illinois to take action via mass arbitration.
What Is Mass Arbitration?
Mass arbitration refers to a relatively new legal technique in which hundreds or thousands of individual arbitration claims are filed against the same company, at the same time and over the same issue. This is different than a class action lawsuit but still allows a large group of people to take action over an alleged wrongdoing.
What Could I Be Owed?
There are no guarantees; however, the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) provides that consumers who had their facial geometries or other biometrics illegally collected may be owed as much as $5,000.
Attorneys working with ClassAction.org would like to speak with Illinois residents who made a reservation with Kasa.com and had to upload a photo ID and live facial scan to verify their identity prior to check-in.
It’s believed that the company may have violated the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act by collecting and storing users’ facial geometries without providing the required disclosures and obtaining proper consent.
Under Illinois law, consumers who had their biometrics – which include facial geometries, fingerprints and more – illegally collected could be owed as much as $5,000 per violation.
What Is the Biometric Information Privacy Act?
The Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) is an Illinois-state law that sets certain standards for how companies can handle consumers’ “biometrics” – that is, unique physical characteristics that can be used to identify an individual. Examples of biometrics include fingerprints, facial geometries, voice patterns, retina structure and even palm vein patterns.
Because biometrics are unique and cannot be changed (like compromised passwords can), the BIPA requires that companies take certain steps before obtaining these identifiers to ensure Illinois residents retain control of this data.
Under the BIPA, a private company cannot collect, capture, purchase or otherwise obtain a person’s biometric information unless it first:
Informs the individual in writing that biometric information is being collected or stored
Informs the individual in writing why the information is being collected, stored and used and for how long
Receives written consent from the individual
The company must also create a written policy that’s available to the public and outlines how long the data will be kept, as well as guidelines for its destruction.
According to Kasa Living’s website, users must verify their identity as part of the company’s “pre-arrival checklist.” During verification, a process that may be facilitated by a third-party platform called Persona, users are asked to provide a picture of a government-issued photo ID, as well as a live selfie to confirm they are who they say they are. While the website states that “Persona and Kasa do not store any personal or sensitive information,” attorneys are looking into the validity of this statement, particularly as it relates to the collection of biometric identifiers.
Is This a Lawsuit? What Am I Signing Up for, Exactly?
You are not signing up for a lawsuit, but rather a process known as mass arbitration. This is a relatively new legal technique that, like a class action lawsuit, allows a large group of people to take action and seek compensation from a company over an alleged wrongdoing. Here is a quick explanation of mass arbitration from our blog:
“[M]ass arbitration occurs when hundreds or thousands of consumers file individual arbitration claims against the same company over the same issue at the same time. The aim of a mass arbitration proceeding is to grant relief on a large scale (similar to a class action lawsuit) for those who sign up.”
It’s for this reason that attorneys have decided to handle this matter as a mass arbitration as opposed to a class action lawsuit.
How Much Does This Cost?
It costs nothing to sign up, and you don’t have to pay anything if your claim is not successful. If the attorneys recover money on your behalf, their payment will come as a percentage of your award.
How Much Money Could I Get?
There are no guarantees as to how much money you will get or whether your claim will be successful. The BIPA, however, provides that companies may be responsible for paying up to $1,000 for negligent violations of the law and as much as $5,000 for willful violations.