Juul Labs has become the latest company to get hit with an Illinois class action lawsuit for gathering biometric information without proper consent. The e-cigarette manufacturer uses biometrics to verify the ages of customers on its website, and while the information does allow Juul to confirm that online shoppers are legally old enough to purchase vapes, the process may not be compliant with the requirements in the state’s Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA).
BIPA is currently the most comprehensive data protection law in the United States, and has ensnared a growing roster of large and small companies since the legislation went into effect. Dr. Pepper, Vimeo, and the Chicago Heating Company have all become the targets of BIPA complaints in the past few months, while the embattled startup WeWork is facing a similar class action lawsuit for using facial recognition to keep tabs on people in its shared workspaces.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation recently noted that BIPA is a groundbreaking piece of legislation precisely because it allows common citizens to file complaints against larger corporations. The privacy watchdog made those comments in relation to the Facebook class action lawsuit that has been making its way through the courts since 2015.
Source: BNN Bloomberg
November 8, 2019 – by Eric Weiss