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Aviation company sued under BIPA for biometric collection procedure violations

Aviation company sued under BIPA for biometric collection procedure violations

A class action lawsuit has been filed in Cook County Circuit Court by a former employee of Swissport USA accusing the aviation company of violating her rights and those of other workers when requiring workers to scan their fingeprints when using a biometric punch clock, the Cook County Record reports.

Rashidah Williams, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, filed the complaint on January 24 against Swissport International Ltd. and Swissport USA Inc. for allegedly violating the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA). This is the latest litigation brought under BIPA, which makes companies liable for damages if they fail to properly keep people informed about the use of their biometric identifiers.

According to the complaint, Rashidah Williams was employed by Swissport between March and November 2017 and she and other employees were required to scan their fingers to “clock in” and “clock out” of work each day. The plaintiff claims the defendants used a biometric timekeeping device that captures, collects, stores and uses the workers’ fingerprints, which they alleged can expose plaintiff and other members of the class to serious and irreversible privacy risks.

Williams also claims workers were never informed in writing that defendants were capturing, collecting, storing or using their biometric information and alleges Swissport failed to provide the required disclosures to inform workers that they were collecting their biometric identifiers and information and failed to inform workers of how long they intended to keep the information.

A recently dismissed lawsuit filed against Google under BIPA has been given new life by the State Supreme Court ruling in January on the definition of “harm” under the statute, and is being revived in both state and appellate courts.

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