• Luxury retail LVMH is accused of illegally collecting customers' facial data in a new lawsuit.
  • Consumers can virtually try on glasses using an online tool which collects the data, the lawsuit said.
  • This violates state biometric privacy laws, it claims.

Luxury retailer LVMH has been accused of collecting facial scans of its customers without their permission, breaching state privacy laws, according to a lawsuit filed Friday in a New York court.

We first saw the news via Bloomberg.

The Louis Vuitton North America unit is accused in the suit of collecting "detailed and sensitive biometric identifiers and information, including complete facial scans." 

US consumers can use a virtual try-on tool on Louis Vuitton's website that allows them to check out how a pair of glasses or sunglasses looks on their face. A shopper can switch their smartphone or laptop camera on in selfie mode, and the tool digitally overlays the glasses over their face.

According to the suit, the site conducts a facial scan to do this and fails both to ask permission for this data and to explain what it's being used for. The data is translated into code and sent to and stored at an external server, the suit claimed. 

The suit points to Illinois biometric privacy law, BIPA, uniquely strict state rules that protect consumers' biometric data. Breaching the regulation can mean fines of up to $5,000 per violation.

Louis Vuitton violates these laws "each and every time a website visitor based in Illinois uses the Virtual Try-On tool," the lawsuit claimed, because it doesn't receive informed consent from shoppers.

Insider approached LVMH for comment.

This isn't the first proposed class-action suit to cite Illinois' biometric privacy laws.

In February 2021, Meta — then called Facebook — paid a $650 million settlement to users who sued the firm over its photo-tagging feature. Meta was then hit by a separate suit involving its photo app Instagram by users who claimed the app has a face-tagging tool that uses facial recognition to identify people. A judge recently ruled that Instagram users must arbitrate their claims individually, Bloomberg Law reported.

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