Home Technology Illinois woman hits Target with class action lawsuit for collecting biometric data without her consent

Illinois woman hits Target with class action lawsuit for collecting biometric data without her consent

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Illinois woman hits Target with class action lawsuit for collecting biometric data without her consent

An Illinois woman filed a class action lawsuit against Target, accusing the retail giant of collecting and storing her biometric data, including face and fingerprint scans, without her consent in violation of state law.

Arnetta Dean, who filed the lawsuit with the intention of preventing Target from further violating the privacy rights of state residents, is also pursuing statutory damages for the company’s alleged collection, storage and use of customers’ biometric data, according to the lawsuit obtained by FOX 32 Chicago.

The lawsuit, filed last month in Cook County, claims Target’s surveillance systems, including cameras with facial recognition technology installed in Illinois stores, “surreptitiously” collect biometric data on customers without their knowledge or consent.

“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 said.

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The lawsuit claims Target’s surveillance systems “surreptitiously” collect biometric data on customers without their knowledge or consent. (iStock / iStock)

According to the lawsuit, Target violated the state’s Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) by collecting, storing and using biometric information without obtaining written consent from customers or providing them with adequate information about data retention and destruction policies.

BIPA, which passed in 2008, states that companies in Illinois are prohibited from collecting, storing or giving out biometric data without providing notice and obtaining personal consent. Companies are also required to inform individuals of the specific purpose and duration of data collection, and they must disclose how the information will be retained and when the information will be destroyed.

The lawsuit says Target failed to comply with the aforementioned requirements.

Biometric data is unlike other identifiers used to access sensitive information because it is biologically unique and cannot be easily changed if compromised, putting individuals at increased risk for identity theft, the lawsuit said.

“For example, social security numbers, when compromised, can be changed,” according to the lawsuit. “Biometrics, however, are biologically unique to the individual; therefore, once compromised, the individual has no recourse, is at heightened risk for identity theft, and is likely to withdraw from biometric-facilitated transactions.”

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Target store in New Mexico

Target is accused of violating Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act. (iStock / iStock)

Target’s “advanced system of electronic surveillance” includes operating 14 investigation centers and two forensic labs to “enhance video footage and analyze finger prints(sic),” according to the lawsuit, which noted that the system was created to detect shoplifters, but also captures customers’ faces every time they enter or leave the store.

Under BIPA, individuals have a private right of action to file a lawsuit for violations of the act, with damages ranging from $1,000 for negligent violations to $5,000 for intentional or reckless violations, as well as attorneys’ fees and injunctive relief.

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Dean’s lawsuit is attempting to do just that, seeking $5,000 for “each and every intentional reckless violation” of the law, or statuary damages of $1,000 for any violation found to have been committed negligently, along with attorneys’ fees and other litigation expenses.

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Similar class action lawsuits have been filed recently against other companies on allegations they violated BIPA. In 2022, Facebook was accused of violating the law, leading to a $650 million settlement. More than a million Facebook users in Illinois received checks for nearly $400 each as part of the settlement.

Class-action lawsuits alleging the violation of Illinois’ BIPA law were also filed against Google, Snapchat and TikTok.

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