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Juul and WeWork sued under BIPA for collecting customer biometrics


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A pair of companies known for their modern approaches to old behaviors and recent controversy are among the defendants in the latest batch of biometric privacy lawsuits filed in Illinois. Biometrics are used by Juul for customer age verification, Bloomberg reports, and by WeWork for customer access control, Bloomberg Law writes in a separate report, rather than the employee time and attendance tracking that is the subject of most BIPA suits.

Like most of the multitude of suits filed this year under BIPA, both are potential class actions, and both allege that the requirements under the state’s Biometric Information Privacy Act to provide information about the collection, use and storage of biometric data from people, and obtain their written consent were violated.

As is almost always the case with BIPA suits, no misuse or theft of the information is alleged. Procedural violations of the Act were upheld as grounds for legal standing by the State Supreme Court ruling in Rosenbach v. Six Flags, as detailed in a recent Biometric Update guest post from Blank Rome LLP.

“Rosenbach has made it much easier to get it past initial challenges,” Mary Smigielski, a privacy partner at Chicago’s Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP told Bloomberg Law. Smigielski also echoes Blank Rome’s assessment that an increase in class actions filed is due to the Rosenbach decision.

Of course, another company, Missouri-based Mid-Am Building Supplies, is also being sued for its use of a biometric time and attendance system, allegedly without meeting BIPA’s informed consent requirements, the Madison-St. Clair Record reports.

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