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Biometric privacy claims ruled sufficient for federal court standing in BIPA vending machine suit

Biometric privacy claims ruled sufficient for federal court standing in BIPA vending machine suit

A Federal Appeals Court has ruled that an invasion of privacy rights under Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) is sufficient to grant claimants standing in federal court, Reuters reports. The ruling in a proposed class action suit against vending machine operator Compass Group USA is now expected to proceed at the federal level.

The plaintiff had been granted a request to remand the case to state court, but as recently reported, the defendant took the decision to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, arguing a precedent for jurisdiction.

The suit against Compass was filed in late-2019, alleging that the company operated vending machines selling food to employees of call center business Alorica, which is not named in the suit. The machines collected fingerprints without providing the necessary biometric data policy information, or receiving consent.

The plaintiff is seeking more than $5 million in damages based on a proposed class of at least 1,000 residents of Illinois.

State courts have historically been seen as more favorable to plaintiffs in their interpretation of standing, according to Reuters, and defendants have had many such actions removed to federal court.

Illinois State Supreme Court decided the matter of legal standing based on procedural violations in a landmark decision in early-2019.

Vending machines are becoming smarter, with Berg Insight predicting the number of connected units will grow at a 16.3 percent CAGR from 2019 to reach 8.9 million units in 2024, which will make up just over half of the market. In an examination of the market’s evolution, Vending Marketwatch reports that fingerprints, and on an increasing basis facial recognition can speed up transactions, and support a shift to cashless transactions. The sale of age-restricted products such as alcohol or cannabis products, or a move by a major brand like Coke or Pepsi could drive biometrics adoption among vending machine companies, though an vending machine industry representative noted that opt-in requirements and cost could be pose barriers.

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