A proposed class action alleges The Procter & Gamble Company’s collection of Illinois residents’ facial geometries through its Bluetooth-connected smart toothbrush violates a state biometric privacy law.
The plaintiff alleges the capture of users’ facial geometry by P&G’s Oral B iO Series 7G toothbrush and its associated app is unlawful given the company failed to provide certain mandatory disclosures or obtain consent as required by the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA). According to the 11-page lawsuit, neither the plaintiff nor other users were informed of P&G’s biometric data collection, much less consented to such, through the smart toothbrush and app, which scans a user’s face and facial geometry in order to analyze brushing habits and provide feedback.
Filed in Cook County Circuit Court on October 26, the lawsuit relays that the BIPA was enacted to protect Illinois residents’ biometric information from unauthorized use by private entities. Per the case, the BIPA prohibits private entities such as Proctor & Gamble from collecting or storing Illinois residents’ biometric information, including fingerprint, retina or facial scans, unless they first:
Inform a consumer in writing that their biometric information will be collected or stored;
Disclose to a consumer the purpose and length of time for the collection or storage of their biometric data;
Receive a written release from the individual allowing for the collection of their biometric information; and
Publish a publicly available retention policy and guidelines for the permanent destruction of the data.
According to the suit, the app that accompanies the Oral B iO Series 7G toothbrush features “position detection technology” that utilizes a user’s smartphone camera to collect information about their facial geometry and allow the toothbrush and app to track which “zone” of their mouth is being brushed. This facial geometry data is then used to analyze the consumer’s toothbrushing habits, provide feedback and generate reports, the case relays.
The plaintiff alleges, however, that Procter & Gamble never informed him in writing that his biometric information would be collected, stored, used or disclosed to a third party, such as the German facial recognition vendor to whom the defendant allegedly sends the brushing data. Moreover, the plaintiff never consented to the collection and use of his biometric data or the disclosure of the information to a third-party vendor, the suit claims.
The case further alleges that P&G has failed to publish a written policy relating to the retention of biometric data and detailing how and when the information would be destroyed.
“To this day, Plaintiff is unaware of the status of the biometrics obtained by Defendant,” the complaint states, alleging the defendant has violated the consumer’s right to biometric privacy.
The lawsuit looks to cover anyone whose biometrics were captured, collected, stored, used, transmitted or disseminated by or on behalf of The Procter & Gamble Company within Illinois at any time within the applicable statute of limitations period.
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