One day in 2005, a mother in Evanston, Ill., joined Flickr. She uploaded some pictures of her children. Years later, their faces are in a database that’s used to test and train some of the most sophisticated artificial intelligence systems in the world called MegaFace.
By law, most Americans in the database don’t need to be asked for their permission. However, residents of Illinois are protected by one of the strictest state privacy laws on the books: the Biometric Information Privacy Act, a 2008 measure that imposes financial penalties for using an Illinoisan’s fingerprints or face scans without consent.