Coinbase slapped with potential lawsuit over biometric violation

Coinbase is facing a lawsuit owing to a violation in biometric privacy laws in Illinois. According to a proposed class-action lawsuit, the cryptocurrency exchange has violated protocols in the way it collects and stores customer fingerprints and facial templates.

The complaint was filed at the beginning on the month. In the filing, a customer claimed that users of the exchange are required to upload pictures of a valid ID and photo as part of Coinbase’s Know Your Customer protocol checks. According to the filing, these checks are in violation of Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA). The lawsuit against Coinbase is based on the fact that Coinbase has “no written policy” with regards to how it collects, stores, and destroys the biometric data from customers:

“At all relevant times, Coinbase had no written policy, made available to the public, establishing a retention schedule and guidelines for permanently destroying biometric information when the initial purpose for collecting or obtaining such biometric information has been satisfied or within 3 years of the individual’s last interaction with Coinbase, whichever occurs first.”

Coinbase’s KYC policy scans the photographs to create a biometric template of its users’ faces in order to confirm a match between the photo and the ID of the customer. According to the plaintiff, the thousands of detailed biometric maps of the face and fingerprints of Illinois residents that are Coinbase customers have been gathered and stored illegally by the exchange.

The fingerprint or facial scan is also used by the Coinbase app to verify the user when they log in using their mobile device. This collection and storage is in said to be in violation of Illinois’ Biometric policy laws to protect users identities. As per the filing:

“If Coinbase’s database containing facial geometry scans or other sensitive, proprietary biometric data is hacked, breached, or otherwise exposed, Coinbase users have no means by which to prevent identity theft.”


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