New Amazon biometric-scan cases in media-saturated NYC could add to tech opposition
Amazon is fighting two new federal biometric privacy lawsuits involving its Go physical stores, both of which were filed in a New York-based U.S. District Court. Both are putative class actions.
It is possible that biometric privacy cases generally could become a bigger cultural phenomenon in New York City’s media–saturated environment.
The most recent case, Perez v. Amazon.com Inc. (1:23:-cv-02251) is categorized as a 440 civil rights (other) case and was filed March 16 in the Southern District of New York. Perez alleges his body and palm were scanned by Amazon.
Justia shows that the plaintiffs are demanding $9.999 million in damages.
The second case, McCall v. Amazon.com Services LLC (1:23-cv-00901-KPF), was filed in February, also in the Southern District. A 360 personal injury (other) lawsuit, plaintiff lawyers are seeking damages of $5 million. McCall alleges only his palm was scanned, according to distribution service Bloomberg News.
These cases are increasingly common, having been pioneered several years ago through the state of Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act.
Both teams say their clients’ right to privacy were violated under New York City laws when they visited a Go cashierless store. Both plaintiffs are suing for at least $500 per negligent scanning per class member, and the city allows them to demand up to $5,000 per violation deemed reckless or intentional.
In a statement to Bloomberg an Amazon spokesperson said One, the contactless ID and payment subscription service is optional and then only at some stores. Privacy fine print is presented to enrollees when they sign up.
According to the news service, Amazon wrote, “The customer is always in control of when they choose to be identified using their palm.”
Perez’s filing states that had not seen, as required by the city, a sign about biometric scanning in use, and would not have entered the store if he had.
As it happens, according to court documents, he did not have his palm scanned, but, according to Perez, Amazon used other sensors to create a full-body profile.
Bloomberg says Go stores in March posted signs about biometric recording (a yearlong oversight, according to news publisher Business Insider), but the Perez suit claims the signs are inadequate under city law.
The suit describes the signs as being “designed with colors, style and fonts that make them easier to ignore.”
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