Lawsuit Accuses Target of Illegally Collecting Biometrics

( – On Monday March 11, Arnetta Dean filed a class action lawsuit in Cook County, Illinois against American retail giant Target alleging that the company was collecting biometric data from its customers without their knowledge or consent. The lawsuit claims that Target is in violations of the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) which requires that written consent must be given by those whose data is being collected or they must be adequately informed about any data collection, retention or destruction policies.

Dean has indicated that the purpose of the lawsuit is to prevent Target from further violating the privacy of their Illinois customers. The suit also seeks statutory damages for the collection, storage and use of customers’ biometric data they have allegedly already done. Dean’s lawsuit is asking for $5,000 for “each and every intentional reckless violation” of BIPA or statuary damages of $1,000 for any violation to have been committed negligently. The amount sought will also include attorneys’ fees and other litigation expenses.

The suit claims that Target does not post any warnings that anyone who enters their stores that biometric data may be collected via security cameras. Biometric data is any kind of personal information that can be used to identify a person. This would include common things like fingerprints and video captures for facial recognition as well as more invasive DNA collection or iris scans. While surveillance cameras are a common method of protection against theft, many states require prominent notification alerting people that they are being recorded.

According to the lawsuit, Target also operates 14 investigation centers and two forensic labs which are primarily used for enhancing video footage as well as for analyzing fingerprints. There have been some videos on TikTok of ex-employees expressing concern over Target’s facial recognition system. Other businesses that have also had to answer for their biometric data collection include Snapchat, Amazon, and Google. Snapchat ultimately settled for $35 million in 2022.

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