T-Mobile, Amazon, and Target hit with facial recognition lawsuits

By Bianca Gonzalez

More companies with household names familiar to consumers are getting hit with lawsuits for alleged violations of BIPA and New York’s Biometric Identifier Information Law. T-Mobile is facing a suit for its use of facial recognition for theft prevention in New York City stores. Target is similarly accused of violating BIPA for its use of facial recognition to prevent theft. Amazon faces its own BIPA lawsuit by collecting workers’ scans.

T-Mobile sued after anti-theft facial recognition use in stores in NYC

T-Mobile used facial recognition for theft prevention in its stores in New York City, a class action lawsuit claims, according to Bloomberg Law.

Valeriia Borzenkova claims that the company collected her biometrics during visits to at least four different locations in the city without her consent.

The company allegedly used its facial recognition, eye scan, and voiceprint technology systems from everyone who enters the store “for loss prevention, generating profits by reducing the number of stolen goods.”

The suit argues that T-Mobile has therefore collected biometric data from consumers “for its own pecuniary benefit.”

Target named in BIPA suit

One woman in Illinois has filed a lawsuit against Target for illegally collecting and storing her biometrics without her consent, in violation of BIPA, according to USA Today.

The lawsuit claims that Target’s surveillance systems secretly collect face and fingerprint scans from customers for theft prevention.

“Target does not notify customers of this fact prior to store entry, nor does it obtain consent prior to collecting its customers’ biometric data,” the lawsuit claims.

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Target stores across the country have cameras and video surveillance with facial recognition capabilities. And for at least a decade, Target has used an “advanced system of electronic surveillance” and two forensic labs “to enhance video footage and analyze fingerprints.” The system captures any customer’s face who enters the store, the lawsuit alleges.

The lawsuit also references a TikTok page where former Target employees describe its facial recognition system.

Amazon faces BIPA lawsuit for gathering employees’ biometrics

Amazon.com Services received a class action lawsuit for allegedly violating BIPA by collecting workers’ face scans and sharing them with third parties without written consent, Law 360 says.

In a complaint that was filed, former employee Lisa Johnson alleged that Amazon collects and uses employees’ biometric data without first obtaining permission and without establishing a retention and destruction policy.

Johnson said that she had to use biometrics to clock in for each shift during her time working at Amazon for payroll and timekeeping. The company allegedly shares the data with third-party identity service providers.

Johnson said Amazon never informed her in writing that it was gathering and storing her biometrics or the amount of time it would be stored, another BIPA requirement. Instead, the company simply directed employees to submit face scans as part of company onboarding to be used for timekeeping.

The lawsuit also notes how the storage of biometric data also poses unique privacy risks.

“If Amazon.com Services’ database containing facial geometry scans or other sensitive, proprietary biometric data is hacked, breached or otherwise exposed,” the filing reads, “Amazon.com Services employees have no means by which to prevent identity theft, unauthorized tracking or other unlawful or improper use of this highly personal and private information.”

This isn’t the first BIPA suit Amazon is currently facing. In October 2023, Amazon lost a bid to have a BIPA case dismissed. In that case, Amazon was accused of recording Alexa users’ voices without their consent.

Source: Biometric Update

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