Motion to dismiss biometric data privacy suit over Amazon health screening rejected
A former employee of an Amazon warehouse have filed a lawsuit alleging the company’s health checks violated Illinois’ biometric data privacy law, Reuters reports.
A motion to dismiss the case under the Biometric Information Protection Act (BIPA) for a failure to allege “active” data collection, possession or disclosure of the data was denied by U.S. District Court Judge Mary Rowland. Each of Amazon’s three arguments were rejected for not meeting the technical legal criteria cited by the defendant. Named plaintiff William Naughton worked as a ‘picker’ in the warehouse, and has also moved to amend the complaint’s plaintiffs. That decision is still pending.
The suit alleges Amazon collected, stored and disclosed biometric data, in the form of facial geometry without informed consent as part of its health check process. The complaint also says Amazon failed to disclose its data retention policy.
Interestingly, Naughton also alleges that Amazon is storing his biometric data in a database (rather than simply using it during the temperature checking process and discarding it).
There is scant evidence that the system prevented COVID transmission, or that it failed to, but Amazon’s purchase of Dahua thermal cameras to perform the health checks drew immediate criticism, even before the discovery of algorithms developed by Dahua specifically to change the results displayed by its cameras.