Lawsuit Alleges Target Illegally Collected and Stored Customers’ Biometric Data

Target Corporation, a prominent retail giant with over 74 locations in the state of Illinois, finds itself embroiled in a legal battle following allegations of unlawfully collecting and storing biometric data from customers without their consent. The lawsuit, filed in March 2024 by Arnetta Dean in Illinois, contends that Target violated the Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA), a law enacted in 2008.

According to court documents, Dean accuses Target of clandestinely gathering biometric data through its sophisticated surveillance systems, including facial recognition technology and fingerprinting, without informing customers or obtaining their written consent. The lawsuit highlights the inherent risks associated with the unauthorized collection and storage of biometric information, emphasizing its unique identifiability to individuals and its classification as "particularly sensitive personal information."

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Under BIPA regulations, companies like Target are required to disclose to customers in writing the collection and storage of their biometric data, along with the purpose and duration of such practices. However, the lawsuit alleges that Target failed to fulfill these obligations, thereby violating the privacy rights of its customers.

The court documents reveal Target's extensive network of surveillance cameras spread across its Illinois stores, which are utilized for gathering intelligence to mitigate business risks and identify potential criminals. Despite the utilization of these advanced surveillance systems, Target purportedly neglected to inform customers of the collection and storage of their biometric data.

In her pursuit of justice, Dean seeks damages amounting to $5,000 for each intentional reckless violation of BIPA and $1,000 for any negligence-based violation, in addition to other attorney fees and expenses. The lawsuit reflects the growing concerns surrounding the protection of personal data and the accountability of corporations in safeguarding consumer privacy.

Biometric data, encompassing facial features and fingerprints, holds immense significance due to its unique nature and potential ramifications if compromised. With the prevalence of data breaches and identity theft, the unauthorized collection and storage of biometric information pose significant risks to individuals' privacy and security.

As the legal proceedings unfold, the case against Target underscores the importance of regulatory compliance and transparency in data collection practices. It serves as a reminder to companies to prioritize consumer privacy and adhere to statutory obligations to avoid legal repercussions.