Woman Files Lawsuit Against Target Over Collection of Biometric Data

In Illinois, a woman has taken legal action against Target, a major U.S. retailer, claiming that the company has gathered and retained various customer information without proper consent.

According to a court filing, Target is facing a lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court for potentially breaching Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act, a law the state legislature passed in 2008 to protect people from details of their physical characteristics being collected without their knowledge. The filing claims that the company obtained biometric data, such as facial recognition information as part of its anti-theft efforts, from customers without their consent.

In the court filing, attorneys noted that the company fails to inform customers about the collection and storage of biometric data before they enter the store, and also does not obtain their consent for this process.

According to the lawsuit, Target did not follow state regulations that mandate the company to notify customers about data collection and obtain written consent.

Privacy concerns were brought to light last year when several retailers started implementing palm-scanning technology as a method of payment for goods and services.

According to experts, there is a need for increased caution in the implementation and storage of biometric information, which users may not be aware of.

In the suit against Target, attorneys argued that the retail giant’s stores across the country are set up with cameras and video surveillance, many of which have the capability of collecting biometric data. For well over a decade, Target has made use of an “advanced system of electronic surveillance” at bases spread throughout the U.S., as well as two forensic labs, to “enhance video footage and analyze finger prints.”

While the system is intended to detect shoplifters, the lawsuit argues that it captures any customer’s face who enters the store.