Investigating Claims Target is Collecting Your Biometric Information in Violation of Your Rights

Attention: Illinois Target Customers Using the Self-Checkout Lane

Illinois law prohibits the retention, collection, and disclosure of biometric identifiers or biometric information by private entities unless certain requirements are met. A violation entitles any person aggrieved by a violation of the law to recover for each violation: (1) at least $1,000 if due to negligence; (2) at least $5,000 if done intentionally or recklessly; (3) reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs; and (4) other relief, including an injunction, if deemed appropriate by the Court. See, Biometric Information Privacy Act, 740 ILCS 14/20.

The attorneys at Consumer Protection Legal are currently investigating claims that Target may be violating this law in its self-checkout lanes in its Illinois stores. When you and/or your children go through the self-checkout lane in Southern Illinois, Target recording you and your children. Kind of creepy. As if the person they have staffed is not enough of a deterrent to keep people from stealing (the likely reason Target has installed these biometric recording devices).
Target would be within its rights if it had taken various steps in advance of recording you and your family. For example, in order to collect, capture, or otherwise obtain a person’s or a customer’s biometric identifier or biometric information, the private entity must first: (1) inform the subject or the subject’s legally authorized representative in writing that a biometric identifier or biometric information is being collected or stored; and (2) inform the subject or the subject’s legally authorized representative in writing of the specific purpose and length of term for which a biometric identifier or biometric information is being collected, stored, and used; and (3) receive a written release executed by the subject of the biometric identifier or biometric information or the subject’s legally authorized representative. See, e.g., Biometric Information Privacy Act, 740 ILCS 14/15.

I don’t know about you, but when I shop at Target, I have never signed a release and I do not know anyone who has. So, Number 3 is a slam dunk. We all go in, put way too much in our carts, check out, and carry all of the stuff that we probably really didn’t need with us to our cars with a twinge of guilt. Did we really need an aqua colored French Bull Dog treat jar? Did we really need a tote that says “We got this!” from the Dollar Bin for $5.00? (Don’t get me started.) No, we did not. Additionally, it wasn’t until I was being recorded that I was reading the fact I was being recorded on the screen monitor that had my biometric information on it. (Number 1, above.)

“Biometric information” means “any information, regardless of how it is captured, converted, stored, or shared, based on an individual’s biometric identifier used to identify an individual. Biometric information does not include information derived from items or procedures excluded under the definition of biometric identifiers.” See, Biometric Information Privacy Act, 740 ILCS 14/10.

“Biometric identifier” means “a retina or iris scan, fingerprint, voiceprint, or scan of hand or face geometry. Biometric identifiers do not include writing samples, written signatures, photographs, human biological samples used for valid scientific testing or screening, demographic data, tattoo descriptions, or physical descriptions such as height, weight, hair color, or eye color. Biometric identifiers do not include donated organs, tissues, or parts as defined in the Illinois Anatomical Gift Act or blood or serum stored on behalf of recipients or potential recipients of living or cadaveric transplants and obtained or stored by a federally designated organ procurement agency. Biometric identifiers do not include biological materials regulated under the Genetic Information Privacy Act. Biometric identifiers do not include information captured from a patient in a health care setting or information collected, used, or stored for health care treatment, payment, or operations under the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. Biometric identifiers do not include an X-ray, roentgen process, computed tomography, MRI, PET scan, mammography, or other image or film of the human anatomy used to diagnose, prognose, or treat an illness or other medical condition or to further validate scientific testing or screening.” See, Biometric Information Privacy Act, 740 ILCS 14/10.

Needless to say, Target records the faces and bodies of consumers who use the self-checkout lane without meeting the aforementioned requirements. If you shop at Target in Illinois and have gone through the creepy self-checkout lanes, please contact us for a free case evaluation. Let’s try to get you and others whose biometric information is being collected, retained, and/or disclosed at least $1,000 and get Target to start following the rules. Fill out a contact form today or email us at consumerprotectionlegal@gmail.com for more information.