Another lawsuit filed under Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act has been cleared to proceed in a federal court, albeit with one claim dismissed without prejudice.
The case revolves around biometric vending machines, and was brought against a supplier of them, Compass Group USA Inc. The firm is based in North Carolina, but had supplied vending machines to a call center operated by Alorica in Illinois. An Alorica employee, Christine Bryant, brought the case against Compass after using the fingerprint-scanning vending machines, arguing that Compass failed to notify her that it would collect and store her biometric data – a requirement under BIPA.
A 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling from earlier this year established that the case had standing in federal court, but Compass fought back, in part, by targeting its alleged violation of Section 15(a) of BIPA, which concerns a company’s violation of its own data retention policies. Now, U.S. District Judge Virginia Kendall has communicated her agreement, asserting that Compass had no such guidelines in place, and therefore couldn’t have violated them.
But, as Reuters reports, the judge also rejected a more important argument from Compass. The firm had noted that BIPA precludes lawsuits from being taken against public employers, public contractors, and financial institutions, which it claimed violates the Illinois Constitution by discriminating against other kinds of organizations. Judge Kendall said these exclusions from BIPA’s purview are “eminently rational”, and that the case – minus the alleged violation under Section 15(a) – should proceed.
That could lead to Compass Group becoming the latest firm to face penalties under the Illinois legislation. The news comes shortly after the conclusion of Facebook’s settlement for its own BIPA violations; in that class action case, the social media giant agreed to pay out a $650 million settlement to Illinoisans whose face biometrics were tagged after being uploaded to its platform.
December 1, 2020 – by Alex Perala