On September 9, 2021, class claims were filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois against tech company Brainshark Inc. alleging that the company’s Machine Analysis software captures, collects or otherwise scans users’ facial geometry without informed written authorization.
In the complaint, named plaintiff Lori Wilk describes how Brainshark offers a popular software as a service web-based application that is used by over 1,000 companies. According to the suit, the defendant’s technology obtains videos of sales employees performing presentations and then using what the defendant describes as emotion analysis scores, rates the employees’ performances. The defendant says that by providing automated scoring of a salesperson’s performance, managers can more easily train employees and improve sales techniques.
The plaintiff describes how the Machine Analysis feature uses facial mapping technology to identify an employee’s emotions including, happiness, surprise, sadness, anger, contempt, aversion and fear. However, in order to properly function the defendant’s application must collect scans of users’ facial geometry, a practice of which the plaintiff argues Brainshark never informed users. Plaintiff claims this constitutes a violation of the written disclosure and informed consent procedures required in the Illinois Biometric Informed Privacy Act.
The plaintiff seeks to represent a class made up of all Illinois residents who uploaded video content to Brainshark from Illinois and from whom defendant captured, collected or otherwise obtained one or more scans of their facial geometry between September 9, 2016 and the present. The suit brings causes of action for violation of the Biometric Information Privacy Act.
The case is: Wilk v. Brainshark, case number 1:21-cv-4794, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
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