Vimeo sued for allegedly building biometric database of faces

The lawsuit against Vimeo has been filed by Bradley Acaley from Illinois who claims that this kind of biometric data collection and building face prints of users is without permission


Vimeo has more recently been pivoting its business model towards targeting more of a corporate audience. One of those ways to appeal to this audience was with a video-editing app called Magisto – and it's the company's acquisition of this app that's made it the target of a recent lawsuit.

Magisto is an easy-to-use templated video builder, helping entrepreneurs quickly create marketing videos with ease. The app is available on the web in a browser, as well as on iOS and Android apps.

However, here is what the lawsuit claims about the app: When users upload a video or image of a person to Magisto, the app allegedly scans the person's face and generates a unique fingerprint, or “face print” of the face – adding it to a database when it is stored.

When you upload another video clip that contains the same person, the database is called up and used to allow the AI technology to identify a known face and help to piece together clips to create a scene.

This is similar to how Google Photos or Apple's Photos app can create automatically generated albums containing images of the same person without users having to label each person individually.

With Vimeo's Magisto, the AI tech also allegedly identifies each person’s gender, age, and location.

The lawsuit against Vimeo has been filed by Bradley Acaley from Illinois who claims that this kind of biometric data collection and building face prints of users is without permission, and therefore, he alleges, is not in compliance with US law.

Acaley says he had purchased a subscription with Vimeo's Magisto before realizing that the company didn't get permission for creating face prints of users.

Read the lawsuit here.


Cindy Harper

Cindy Harper is a tech news staff writer based in Maryland, USA. After getting her start in local journalism, Cindy now reports mostly on social media stories for Reclaim. [email protected]