OnlyFans Sued Under Controversial Illinois 'Biometric Privacy' Law

OnlyFans Sued Under Controversial Illinois 'Biometric Privacy' Law

CHICAGO — The U.S. parent company of OnlyFans, Fenix Internet LLC, has been sued in Illinois over its use of facial recognition technology for identity verification, under a controversial “biometrics privacy” state law that has been used to file class action suits against a growing number of companies.

Last Friday, lawyers Eugene Y. Turin and Colin P. Buscarini of the Chicago firm McGuire Law filed suit in Cook County Circuit Court against Fenix for collecting “the facial biometrics of thousands of individuals, including Illinois residents,” the Cook County Record reported.

Fenix — the parent company of record for OnlyFans, through which the site's creators receive their payments in the U.S. — is being targeted because of OnlyFans’ requirement that creators “verify their identity and age before they can post content or get paid.”

According to the original Jane Doe plaintiff’s lawyers, most OnlyFans users are located in the U.S., many in Illinois.

Forbidden 'Biometric Profiles'

The lawsuit alleges that after compulsorily demanding personal visual information from creators, OnlyFans then “uses a program to create a ‘geometric profile of their face’ and compare it to ‘the biometric profile that it extracts from the user’s ID document to see if they match,’” the Cook County Record reported.

The Jane Doe plaintiff states she has been an OnlyFans creator since 2019. According to the complaint, she “was allegedly required to reverify her age and identity using OnlyFans’ automated verification program in 2021,” thus violating BIPA, the Illinois Biometric Information Protection Act.

McGuire Law and other firms have used BIPA to “launch thousands of class action lawsuits against businesses of all kinds and sizes,” the Record noted. “The lawsuits typically accuse businesses of violating technical provisions of the law, which require businesses to secure written consent from people, and provide them certain notices, before scanning their biometric identifiers, such as fingerprints, retinal scans, or, as in this case, facial geometry.”

A Goldmine for Lawyers

BIPA suits have targeted big tech companies such as Google, Shutterfly and others. Facebook recently agreed to pay a $650 million settlement over BIPA issues. 

The Fenix complaint, according to the Record, claims OnlyFans “violated BIPA by allegedly failing to publish a policy with ‘a schedule and guidelines’ explaining how the facial scans would be handled and ultimately destroyed; allegedly improperly using the facial scans for profit; and allegedly failing to secure the facial scans and users’ data from former employees of OnlyFans and Fenix.”

The complaint seeks damages of $1,000-$5,000 per violation, plus attorney fees. Lawyers are currently trying to locate “potentially thousands of OnlyFans users in Illinois who submitted photos of their faces and IDs through OnlyFans’ identity and age verification system.”

OnlyFans Facial Recognition Lawsuit

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