back to article Vimeo's Clippy-for-video-bumpf app 'breaks biometric privacy law by slurping thousands of faces without consent'

Vimeo's cloud-based video-editing app Magisto analyzes thousands of people's faces using AI and stores their biometric data in a database without their consent, it is claimed. Magisto is, from what we can tell, Clippy or a Microsoft Office wizard but for corporate marketing videos: you select a template video, upload your own …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You are the product

    I can understand the alleged practice for a free app.

    But for subscribers as well?

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: You are the product

      It's another New Age in Sillycon Valley : now they are out to get all the data.

      After all, FaceBook has brilliantly demonstrated that government doesn't have a clue and can't stomp down on anything privacy-related, so why restrain oneself ?

    2. Stoneshop Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: You are the product

      But for subscribers as well?

      That's inflation for you. USD120 is now as close to free as makes no difference.

  2. FozzyBear Silver badge

    Once again an IT Companys take

    on the adage "It is easier to apologise than seek permission"

    It is easier to deny, deny, deny, then apologise, then keep doing it, than uphold an individuals basic privacy rights

  3. Mephistro Silver badge
    Facepalm

    GDPR lawsuit in 3... 2...

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I wonder

    "the rub appears to be that when you upload a video or photo containing someone's face, Magisto detects the person's presence and generates a unique fingerprint, or face print"

    I wonder what would happen if you uploaded a picture of your ass?

    (Reminds me of a an old joke about a one-eyed cat)

    1. Korev Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: I wonder

      <uploads pictures from a donkey sanctuary>

  5. Chris G Silver badge

    Millenial Marketing

    People buy millennials?

    I've got a few would like to sell cheap just to get them off my hands.....

    1. Stoneshop Silver badge
      Pirate

      Re: Millenial Marketing

      They should for the most part be biodegradable, so your best option appears to be to compost them and sell them as fertiliser.

  6. eldakka Silver badge

    Although Magisto, based in Silicon Valley, mentions on its website, at least, that it uses of facial recognition in its automagic editing process, and states that it collects data that “may include or reflect personal information that could identify you” in its privacy policy, it fails to explain how long biometric data is stored and how it can be removed. Vimeo acquired Magisto in April this year.

    However, what it apparently doesn't say is it's not just about 'you'. It should be saying something like: “may include or reflect personal information that could identify you and of anyone else who's image you upload”

  7. iron Silver badge
    Coat

    I get the feeling Vimeo bought Magisto in April this year but I can't quite place why.

  8. matt 83

    Isn't any video with someone's face biometric data?

    What's the difference between the original video and the derived "face print" if the latter was extracted from the former? Doesn't that make the every video with someone's face visible biometric data too?

    1. cbars

      Re: Isn't any video with someone's face biometric data?

      A machine readable format which allows you to identify and track people without any human effort.

      E.g. I see your face in this video, and without needing to review any further footage manually (think watching CCTV on x2 speed) you can be picked out of any other video.

      The difference is it makes the task easy to do at scale, whereas some level of anonymity was previously found by being 1 in a crowd, now you are FACE_ID:0011010101010101011101010 in all crowds ever recorded

      The general consensus at the moment is that this should require consent, as it's not the same thing as passing a stranger in the street who wont remember you

  9. Donn Bly

    Photographer's Rights

    What I haven't yet figured out is that since I as photographer have exclusive rights to any picture or video that I have personally taken in any area where privacy is not presumed (which is the law in the United States, including Illinois) how the state can then claim that neither I nor a third party have the right to process the images or possess a digital representation of them?

    The two are mutually exclusive, so I would assume that they presume that the latter preempts the first -- but the law doesn't allow for such a preemption. I'm just waiting for the counter-suite from some lawyer trying to get rich.

  10. Donn Bly

    Was the law broken, and by whom

    If the assertions are correct, Bradley Acaley admits to uploading photographs to Magisto which, as a standard feature of their platform generated biometric data from those photographs for Mr Acaley and kept that data in Mr Acaley's account for his future use, performing automatic collation and categorization of Mr. Acaley's data. Since Magisto appears to have been acting at the direction of Mr Acaley, wouldn't Mr. Acaley be just as guilty, if not more so, for the alleged violations of the Illinois law? In fact, since Mr. Acaley is the one who "pushed the button", isn't Mr. Acaley the one who actually generated and collected the biometric data, and thus his lawsuit really serves as a written confession?

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