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Judge allows voice biometrics data privacy lawsuit against Amazon to add plaintiffs

Wingstop, Domino’s sued for alleged phone system violations
Judge allows voice biometrics data privacy lawsuit against Amazon to add plaintiffs

A federal judge has sided with plaintiffs who want to amend their lawsuit against Amazon over alleged violations of Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act. The ruling will allow plaintiffs to add more representatives to their class action.

The case hinges on whether Amazon Web Services failed to gather the required informed consent when collecting voice biometrics from callers to financial institution John Hancock, for which it was providing call center services. The bank and Pindrop, which supplied its biometric software, have been removed from the case for lack of jurisdiction.

Attorneys for AWS argued in a letter that testimony on behalf of John Hancock shows that the voices of the three named plaintiffs were not analyzed with the biometric software, Law360 reports, rendering their claims meritless.

U.S. Circuit Judge Stephanos Bibas rejected that argument on grounds that the issue is not one for summary judgement, but rather a jurisdictional issue that should be considered independently on the way to trial. If the class is inadequate, he writes, “justice requires the addition of class representatives who lack the characteristics that Defendant argues are problematic.” Discovery remains ongoing, so AWS will still have time to vet the claims of additional class representatives.

Bibas ordered all parties to conduct limited discovery by May 17 to establish whether all 12 plaintiffs’ placed calls in Illinois during which they were authenticated by Pindrop’s technology.

“The challenges and complexities in obtaining the dismissal of biometrics class actions prior to the commencement of costly discovery” is precisely the topic of a Biometric Update guest post by Baker Donelson Of Counsel David J. Oberly on the implications of a recent BIPA decision partially dismissing claims against Meta. The Meta case also involved voice biometrics.

Lawsuits allege voice biometrics BIPA violations from food orders

Wingstop is being sued under BIPA for allegedly failing to gather informed consent when processing phone orders with voice biometrics from ConverseNow Technologies, reports ClassAction.org.

The filing alleges Wingstop processed thousands of customers’ biometrics while taking orders for 60 locations across the state.

Domino’s Pizza also uses ConverseNow, according to a separate Law360 article detailing another BIPA lawsuit, which likewise alleges voice biometrics technology was used without notification to those placing order by telephone.

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