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Ralph Lauren Corporation Collection of Biometrics Illinois BIPA Class Action

Illinois is one of the few states that has taken steps to even begin to regulate the collection, storage, and use of biometrics—the Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA). The complaint for this class action alleges that Ralph Lauren Corporation has violated that law by collecting, storing, and using its Illinois employees’ biometrics for timekeeping purposes without fulfilling the requirements of BIPA.

The class for this action is all individuals whose fingerprints were collected, captured, or otherwise obtained or stored by the Ralph Lauren Corporation in Illinois.

Companies must protect the private information of employees and customers, yet data breaches still happen. Biometrics are an even riskier sort of information. If, for example, cybercriminals gain access to a person’s credit card number, it is possible for the person to get a new card with a new number. However, if cybercriminals steal someone’s fingerprint data, the person cannot get a new set of fingers with a different set of prints.

In this case, plaintiff Genesis Martinez worked for the Ralph Lauren Corporation in Illinois, from May 2018 to August 2019. Like other employees, she was required to let the company take her fingerprints and must use her fingerprints to clock in and out.

Private entities like the Ralph Lauren Corporation may not take or have the biometrics of individuals in Illinois unless they first do certain things:

  • They must inform the subject in writing that biometric identifiers will be collected and stored.
  • They must inform the subject in writing of the specific purpose and length of term for which the biometrics are being collected, stored, and used.
  • They must obtain from the subject a written release for the collection of the biometrics.
  • They must have publicly-available written retention schedules and guidelines for permanently destroying the biometric information.

According to the complaint, the company did not fulfill these requirements before taking the fingerprints of plaintiff Martinez.

In addition to these up-front requirements, BIPA also requires two more things from private companies who use biometrics:

  • They must use the same standard of care in storing, transmitting, and protecting biometrics that they use for other sensitive information.
  • They must not sell, lease, trade, or otherwise profit from the biometrics.

The complaint argues, “If [Ralph Lauren’s database of digitized fingerprints were to fall into the wrong hands, by data breach or otherwise, individual to whom these sensitive biometric identifiers belong could have their identities stolen or their financial and other highly personal information breached and used for nefarious purposes.” It says that BIPA gives Illinois residents the right to be informed of these risks and a right to know how long the information will be in use and at risk.

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Privacy

Most Recent Case Event

Ralph Lauren Corporation Collection of Biometrics Illinois BIPA Complaint

March 2, 2021

Illinois is one of the few states that has taken steps to even begin to regulate the collection, storage, and use of biometrics—the Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA). The complaint for this class action alleges that Ralph Lauren Corporation has violated that law by collecting, storing, and using its Illinois employees’ biometrics for timekeeping purposes without fulfilling the requirements of BIPA.

Ralph Lauren Corporation Collection of Biometrics Illinois BIPA Complaint

Case Event History

Ralph Lauren Corporation Collection of Biometrics Illinois BIPA Complaint

March 2, 2021

Illinois is one of the few states that has taken steps to even begin to regulate the collection, storage, and use of biometrics—the Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA). The complaint for this class action alleges that Ralph Lauren Corporation has violated that law by collecting, storing, and using its Illinois employees’ biometrics for timekeeping purposes without fulfilling the requirements of BIPA.

Ralph Lauren Corporation Collection of Biometrics Illinois BIPA Complaint
Tags: BIPA, Biometric Data, Taking/Storing/Using Biometric Data, Your Privacy