An Illinois woman is behind a class action lawsuit in which she claims PAR Technology, the maker of point-of-sale systems that allow restaurants to track workers’ hours using a fingerprint scanner, violated the state's Biometric Privacy Act.
An Illinois woman is behind a class action lawsuit in which she claims the maker of point-of-sale (POS) systems that allow restaurants to track workers’ hours using a fingerprint scanner failed to make proper disclosures as to how the biometric information would be stored, used, and destroyed.
Filed in Illinois circuit court, the case names as the defendant PAR Technology Corp., a developer of cloud-based POS systems used in the hospitality industry. According to the lawsuit, PAR offers businesses—mostly restaurants—a range of systems that allow them to track their employees’ time using a biometric fingerprint scanner in place of a traditional time clock. The case points out that this method, while generally beneficial, also comes with serious privacy risks. From the complaint:
“Unlike key fobs or identification cards—which can be changed or replaced if stolen or compromised—fingerprints are unique, permanent biometric identifiers associated with the employee. This exposes employees to serious and irreversible privacy risks. For example, if a fingerprint database is hacked, breached, or otherwise exposed, employees have no means by which to prevent identity theft and unauthorized tracking.”
The lawsuit explains that employers that collect workers’ biometric information must comply with the strict requirements set forth in Illinois’s Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA). According to the case, PAR has violated BIPA by failing to:
Inform PAR system users of the specific purpose and length of time for which their biometric information was being collected, stored, and used;
Provide a publicly available retention schedule that specified when the fingerprint data would be destroyed; and
Obtain a written release from PAR system users to “collect, capture, or otherwise obtain” their fingerprint data.
The case seeks to cover a proposed class of Illinois residents whose fingerprints were collected by PAR Technology.