CSK&D is investigating a potential class action lawsuit against Google relating to the Google Nest Hub Max for alleged violations of privacy by collecting and misusing personal biometric data and information.
The Nest Hub Max is Google’s largest and first smart display with a camera. Much like the Amazon Echo, it allows users to ‘talk’ to its Google Assistant to do anything from making voice calls to using it as a security camera.
However, it also includes a controversial Face Match technology feature, which is always keeping a digital eye for faces passing by. When it recognizes yours, it displays content just for you (e.g., photos, messages, appointments, etc.). The Face Match feature uses a front-facing camera and an ‘always-on’ facial recognition software – similar to what is seen in Facebook, Apple Photos or Google Photos – to identify passers-by. The Google Nest Hub Max can support multiple user profiles by allowing you to create a ‘face model.’ When the Face Match feature is on, it monitors and analyzes input from the camera to detect faces.
Recently, states have enacted law to prevent companies from misusing or misappropriating personal information and biometric data – such as facial geometry scans, fingerprints, retina/iris scans, DNA, and facial geometry scans – used to identify individuals. Examples of privacy protection statutes that Google may be violating include the California Consumer Privacy Protection Act (CCPA), the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA), and the federal Children’s Online Privacy Proteciton Rule (COPPA). BIPA alone allows for an award of statutory damages in the amount of $1,000 per violation, or $5,000 per violations deemed to be intentional or reckless.
If you have a Google Nest Hub Max and are concerned about your sensitive personal and biometric information being collected, stored, and used without your authorization, please contact us.