Amazon’s daily temperature checks for Illinois fulfillment center workers amid the coronavirus pandemic violate a state biometric privacy law, a proposed class action alleges.
The plaintiff, who worked for Amazon as a yard marshal in Mundelein until August 2020, alleges the company’s COVID-19-necessitated wellness checks, which utilize a camera to scan a worker’s facial geometry and take their temperature before they’re allowed into the warehouse, overstep the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA).
As a result of Amazon.com Inc. and Amazon.com LLC’s scanning and collection of warehouse workers’ facial geometries, retinas, irises and temperatures, the employees have “lost the right to control” the sensitive information, and have become exposed to “ongoing, serious, and irreversible privacy risks—simply by going to work,” the 20-page lawsuit alleges.
Per the complaint, Amazon’s biometric data collection and storage practices contravene the “clear and unequivocal” requirements set for companies by the BIPA, the passage of which, the plaintiff remarks, stemmed from Illinois’ recognition of the need to protect citizens “from situations like these.”
More specifically, the proposed class action alleges Amazon has knowingly disregarded the Illinois BIPA in that it failed to:
Properly inform workers in writing that their biometric identifiers or biometric information is being collected, obtained or stored;
Properly inform workers in writing of “the specific purpose and length of time” for which their facial scans and other biometric identifiers are being collected, obtained, stored and used;
Develop and follow a publicly available retention schedule and guidelines for permanently destroying workers’ biometric data;
Obtain a written release from workers to collect, obtain, capture or otherwise acquire their facial scans and other biometric identifiers; and
Obtain consent from workers to disclose, redisclose or otherwise disseminate their biometric information to a third party.
“There, Amazon was accused by guardians of minors of unlawful collection, use, storage and disclosure of minor users’ biometric data through the use of its ‘Alexa’ devices and voice printing system,” the complaint reads. “Yet, despite these prior accusations and Defendant’s knowledge of BIPA, here, when employees arrive at the Amazon facility and/or warehouse, their facial identifiers and geometry are scanned, tracked, and uploaded.”
The lawsuit aims to cover all employees who entered Amazon’s locations in Illinois and had their facial geometry scans, biometric identifiers, and/or biometric information collected, captured, received, or otherwise obtained, maintained, stored, disclosed or disseminated by Amazon during the applicable statutory period.
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