Target Sued for Allegedly Collecting Data Without Consent


Target has been hit with a class action lawsuit that alleges the retailer collected and stored biometric data from customers without their consent.

The lawsuit, filed in Illinois in March by a woman named Arnetta Dean, claims that Target violated the Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) by not disclosing to customers that their biometric data (which can be obtained through facial recognition technology and fingerprinting, for example) was stored and that the retailer collected, stored and used the data without customer’s written consent.

If biometric data is stolen or compromised in a breach, the lawsuit claims, customers could be at risk for identity theft as that specific data is uniquely identifiable to one individual and is considered “particularly sensitive personal information.”

Related: Target Limiting Self-Checkout, Adding More Traditional Lanes

“Target’s stores in Illinois are outfitted with cameras and advanced video surveillance systems that– unbeknownst to customers– surreptitiously collect, possess, or otherwise obtain Biometric Data,” the lawsuit reads. “Target does not notify customers of this fact.”

BIPA, which was enacted in Illinois in 2008, states that a company cannot “collect, capture, purchase, receive through trade, or otherwise obtain a person’s or a customer’s biometric identifiers” unless the company first informs the customer in writing that their data is being collected or stored and also explain the purpose of why the data is being collected and for how long it’s being stored.

According to the court documents, Target “operates one of the largest and most advanced networks of cameras” that analyze footage and data across 14 investigation centers and two forensics labs to “gather as much intelligence as possible” in hopes of mitigating business risks by being able to identify criminals.

Dean is seeking $5,000 for “each and every intentional reckless violation of BIPA” and $1,000 for any other violation committed with negligence in addition to other attorney fees and expenses.

Target has upwards of 74 locations in the state of Illinois.

Target has not commented on the allegations at press time nor immediately responded to Entrepreneur’s request for comment.

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