Naughton being the petitioner, claimed that the wellness checks which Amazon had contained sensitive biometric data that is Naughton’s facial geometry. He further claimed that Defendant Amazon had taken this data without any consent and even disclosed all the information to other parties violating Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA). William Naughton was an employee of Amazon as a “Picker” at a warehouse in Joliet, Illinois, from September to October 2020. Suddenly in June 2020, Amazon came up with a new rule that its workers have to provide scans of their facial geometry and other essential information for their wellness check to enter the facility every day. Naughton alleged that Amazon had been using facial recognition devices in all its centers throughout Illinois. These devices and their associated software have captured all the biometric information, such as retinas and irises. Amazon even scans and records the temperature of workers. To such a thing, William Naughton and his members claimed that due to Amazon’s conduct, they lost their privacy to control the collection and storage of their biometric information. They were even exposed to severe and privacy risks. Naughton alleged that Amazon did not inform them about collecting biometric data and storing them in their database. 

Naughton further alleges that he did not give any consent to storing his biometric data and further disclosing it to third parties. He was not aware of any policies on whether Amazon will ever delete his biometric information or not. Hence, Naughton brought a claim against Amazon for collecting and capturing the biometric information of all the members of the warehouse and disseminating it to third parties without proper consent. This was violating 740 I11 Comp. $ Stat 14/15 (a) failing to obtain written consent from its members and 740 I11 Comp. $ Stat 14/15 (b) for disclosing biometric identifiers without consent. 

Amazon tried to attack Naughton’s allegations on specific grounds, but none of them is persuasive under Rule 12(b) 6 standard. According to Section 15(b), collecting biometric information without the person’s consent is unlawful, which dismisses Amazon’s first allegation. Upon this, Amazon gave examples of two cases, Jacobs vs Hanwha Techwin Am Inc and Heard vs Becton, Dickinson & Co. Besides this, Amazon claimed that Naughton had not plausibly alleged to take any active step to collect biometric data and stated to omit such allegations under Section 15(b). 

Final Judgment

The court denies Amazon’s motion and pleadings. William Naughton’s motion for leave to file a second amended complaint is still under advertisement. The court strictly stated that Amazon would not answer the first amended complaint after the pending motion to substitute. 

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Sharanya Chakraborty

Content Writer, WCSF

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