Buyer beware: Class action lawsuit alleges Target illegally collected biometric data on its customers

The following is from The Defender.

Retail giant Target illegally collected and stored customers’ biometric data, including face and fingerprint scans, according to an Illinois woman who filed a class action lawsuit against the Minnesota-based company on behalf of herself and other customers.

Arnetta Dean alleges Target violated Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) by collecting customers’ data without obtaining written consent or sharing data retention and destruction policies.

The lawsuit, filed on March 11 in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, also claims the company did not provide the necessary disclosures or allow customers to opt out of the data collection practices.

Plaintiffs seek statutory damages of $5,000 for each intentional or reckless violation of the law and $1,000 for each violation found to be negligent. They also seek to recoup attorneys’ fees and other litigation expenses.

The lawsuit also seeks injunctive relief to prevent Target from further violating the biometric privacy rights of Illinois residents.

A hearing in the case is scheduled for July 10.

Dean, an Illinois resident, filed the lawsuit after allegedly having her biometric data collected without consent during visits to the retailer’s stores.

According to NBC Chicago, Target allegedly employs advanced facial recognition technology in its stores to prevent theft.

The suit cites a Target investigations center leader who said, “[W]e are using state-of-the-art equipment to gather as much intelligence as possible, reduce business risks, and take down criminals.”

The lawsuit alleges Target “operates one of the largest and most advanced networks of cameras” and has developed an advanced system of electronic surveillance that includes 14 investigation centers and two forensic labs “to enhance video footage and analyze fingerprints.”

A former Target manager wrote in a thread on Quora that Target takes photos every time customers step on and off the property, builds a database of them wandering through the store, and uses “incredibly advanced behavior analysis and facial recognition software” to detect potential shoplifters, according to the lawsuit.

According to another post, “Target has an actual crime lab that’s so good government agencies come to them for help … [and] are the only retailer that uses DNA and fingerprints to identify and help catch rings of professional shoplifters.”

Customers who frequent the store but do not make a purchase “are going to be suspected of being shoplifters, and they will be scrutinized more closely,” according to a third Quora post.

The lawsuit references “an entire TikTok page of videos” where consumers and former employees discuss Target’s surveillance system. (Continued…)

Read more here.

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1 thought on “Buyer beware: Class action lawsuit alleges Target illegally collected biometric data on its customers”

  1. I find this to be a very troubling article.
    1. I do not like business performing illegal actions.
    2. I like even less when government who is also prohibited from this extent of surveillance and data collections using the illegal actions of business to their own ends.
    3. I do not approve of shoplifting nor the enhanced shoplifting known as Looting in the major cities. Why should I pay more for my merchandise because hairballs steal from the stores and they raise prices to cover the loss. While I realize it is a major problem, I do not want to surrender my privacy rights because of a large number of criminals. Part of the problem is a liberal jurisdictions refusing to prosecute shoplifters unless the dollar amount is over $1000 dollars. Those same jurisdictions have made it illegal for store employees to prevent store theft.

    This fits together so nicely, it could be a conspiracy to achieve these ends.

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