IKO Midwest Inc. is on the receiving end of a proposed class action that claims the shingle manufacturer violated an Illinois privacy law by collecting thousands of workers’ fingerprints for timekeeping purposes without disclosing the “complete purpose” for doing so.
The plaintiff, who worked for IKO in Illinois, says he was required to scan his fingerprint every time he clocked in and out of work. Though he was aware that his biometric data was being collected and stored, the man claims he was never informed of “the full extent” of the purpose for which IKO collected his sensitive information or to whom the data was disclosed, if anyone.
Alleging violations of the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA), the lawsuit further claims IKO never provided employees with a written, publicly available retention schedule outlining how and when their personal data would be destroyed. An employee who leaves the company “does so without any knowledge” of when or if their biometric identifiers will be removed from the defendant’s database, the case contends.
The suit stresses that the BIPA—which lays out specific requirements governing the collection, storage, and use of a consumer’s biometric identifiers, such as fingerprints—was enacted in response to the 2007 bankruptcy of a fingerprint scanner company. Per the complaint, the bankruptcy raised concerns among legislators that the “millions of fingerprint records” collected by the company would be sold and distributed as part of the bankruptcy proceedings without adequate protection for consumers.
“The Pay By Touch bankruptcy that catalyzed the passage of the BIPA highlights why conduct such as Defendant’s—whose employees are aware that they are providing biometric identifiers but are not aware of to whom or the full extent of the reasons they are doing so—is so dangerous,” the complaint reads, adding that the use of biometric identifiers presents “serious risks” given the data is unique to individuals and cannot be changed if stolen or compromised.
The lawsuit looks to cover all individuals who had their fingerprints collected, captured, received, otherwise obtained, or disclosed by IKO in Illinois.
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