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County Materials Taking Employee Biometrics Illinois BIPA Class Action

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, County Materials Corporation required that its employees clock in and out using a fingerprint scan. The complaint for this class action alleges this exposes its employees to “serious and irreversible privacy risks[.]” It claims that, in taking and keeping fingerprints for employees at its four plants in Illinois, County Materials did not follow the requirements of the state’s Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA).

The class for this action is all individuals working for County Materials in Illinois who had their biometric identifiers or biometric information collected, captured, received, or otherwise obtained, maintained, stored, or disclosed by County Materials during the applicable statutory period.

Biometrics are different from other personal information and identifiers. If a company ID card is stolen from a person, for example, the company can issue another card with a new number. But if fingerprints are stolen, the person cannot get another set of fingers with a new set of prints.

The complaint reviews a number of data breaches that have exposed biometric information, including a 2015 one at the US Office of Personnel Management that exposed the personal information of more than 21.5 million people; the hacking of Aadhaar, “the largest biometric database in the world;” and a 2019 breach at Suprema, which uses biometrics at 1.5 million locations around the world but stored them on an unencrypted, publicly-available database.

In the early 2000s, a number of companies in Illinois began to test the usage of biometrics such as fingerprints in financial transactions. In 2007, one of the companies that provided fingerprint scanners throughout the state filed for bankruptcy. The complaint alleges, “That bankruptcy was alarming … for suddenly there was a serious risk that millions of fingerprint records … could now be sold, distributed, or otherwise shared through the bankruptcy proceedings without adequate protections for Illinois citizens.”

Illinois passed BIPA in 2008 to regulate businesses’ collection, storage, and use of the biometric data of Illinois citizens.

According to the complaint, when it took, stored, and used the biometrics of its Illinois employees, County Materials violated BIPA by failing to do a number of things:

  • It failed to inform the employees in writing of the purpose and length of time for which their fingerprints were being collected.
  • It did not provide a publicly-available retention schedule as to how long it would retain the employees’ fingerprints and guidelines for permanently destroying them.
  • It did not get a written release from the employees allowing it to take, store, or otherwise use their fingerprints.
  • It did not get consent from the employees to disclose or otherwise share their fingerprints with third parties.

The complaint alleges that BIPA requires all of the above, and that “BIPA also prohibits selling, leasing, trading, or otherwise profiting from a person’s biometric identifiers or biometric information.”

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Privacy

Most Recent Case Event

County Materials Taking of Employee Biometrics Illinois BIPA Complaint

January 21, 2022

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, County Materials Corporation required that its employees clock in and out using a fingerprint scan. The complaint for this class action alleges this exposes its employees to “serious and irreversible privacy risks[.]” It claims that, in taking and keeping fingerprints for employees at its four plants in Illinois, County Materials did not follow the requirements of the state’s Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA).

County Materials Taking of Employee Biometrics Illinois BIPA Complaint

Case Event History

County Materials Taking of Employee Biometrics Illinois BIPA Complaint

January 21, 2022

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, County Materials Corporation required that its employees clock in and out using a fingerprint scan. The complaint for this class action alleges this exposes its employees to “serious and irreversible privacy risks[.]” It claims that, in taking and keeping fingerprints for employees at its four plants in Illinois, County Materials did not follow the requirements of the state’s Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA).

County Materials Taking of Employee Biometrics Illinois BIPA Complaint
Tags: BIPA, Biometric Data, Taking/Storing/Using Biometric Data, Your Privacy