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Shutterfly Seeks Arbitration to Settle Faceprint Privacy Dispute

Monday, March, 28, 2016

Shutterfly, the popular online photo service, has asked a judge to send the dispute concerning faceprints to arbitration. The dispute began when Brian Norberg, a resident of Illinois, alleged his faceprint was added to the site’s database after his picture was uploaded and tagged with his name by another user. According to court documents, it was Norberg’s wife who uploaded the photo.


Shutterfly alleges the woman had an account with Shutterfly and agreed to its terms of service, which includes arbitration of all consumer disputes. According to US District Court Judge Robert Norgle, Mr. Norberg and his wife acted in concert to generate the claims within the lawsuit, meaning the posting of the photo and subsequent claims were part of a plan and not an accident.


Norberg does not have an account with Shutterfly.


He alleged in June 2015 in a potential class action lawsuit that the company’s practice of adding people to a database is an invasion of privacy and in violation of the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act, which prohibits businesses from storing people’s biometric identifiers without direct consent from that person.


The company responded, claiming that since the lawsuit was filed just 10 days after the photos were uploaded, that it was very unlikely the events were not pre-planned. The company claims “the most logical explanation… is that the claims were already in the works prior to Norberg’s wife joining Shutterfly…”


Norberg’s attorney responded the company’s claims were meritless and “baseless innuendo.” The websites Google and Facebook are facing similar lawsuits in federal court in the Northern District of California.