Target Sued For Improper Biometric Surveillance

Source: Corsight AI’s Facial Intelligence 

Just months after the Federal Trade Commission banned Rite Aid from using facial recognition in stores, a class-action lawsuit is coming for Target.

Arnetta Dean is the lead plaintiff in the class action suit filed several weeks ago in Illinois’ Cook County. It alleges that Target broke the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act, passed in 2008 and designed to protect people from their physical characteristics being collected without their knowledge.

Target did not respond to Marketing Daily’s request for comment.

Illinois’s Biometric Information Privacy Act was passed unanimously after an initiative led by the ACLU of Illinois. The law prohibits private companies from collecting unique biological information, including retina scans, fingerprints, voiceprints, hand scans, facial geometry or DNA, unless they’ve informed people in writing. They must also tell consumers why they are collecting the data and how long it will be stored.



Retailers have often argued that such technology is necessary to help them guard against theft, which Target has called out as a growing problem in its financial results. So have such retailers as Lowe’s, Dick’s and Walgreens. While retailers don’t disclose the use of such technology, it is widespread. And retail trade shows are increasingly crowded with vendors promising ever-evolving options to the technology.

The FTC ruling against Rite Aid banned the now-bankrupt retailer from using facial recognition technology for five years. The agency said the company’s use of the often-flawed tech led to “falsely tagged consumers, particularly women and people of color.”

“Rite Aid's reckless use of facial surveillance systems left its customers facing humiliation and other harms, and its order violations put consumers’ sensitive information at risk," said Samuel Levine, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, in the ruling. “Today’s groundbreaking order makes clear that the Commission will be vigilant in protecting the public from unfair biometric surveillance and unfair data security practices.”

Following that judgment, the New York State Bar Association urged the state’s legislature to regulate facial recognition technology.

1 comment about "Target Sued For Improper Biometric Surveillance".
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  1. John Grono from GAP Research, April 19, 2024 at 7:29 p.m.

    Quite ironic.

    Orwell's 1949 dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four of a totalitarian led society, in which everyone was under surveillance in an authoritarian state, made a substantial impact on many (maybe most) people of a bleak future and very wary of most levels of government regulation.

    And here we are in 2024 where data collection and numerous forms of surveillance feed into massive data banks that can rapidly profile most individuals, while a plethora of users over-look the risk of personal profiling as long as they can download the latest app.

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