The contours of what biometric data can be collected, how and when may end up being defined in part by the legal system, in cases that come state by state, trial by trial.
Various cases making their way through the court system in the United States illuminate key debates around biometrics.
This month in Illinois, an in-state federal judge ruled that more than 44,000 truck drivers could sue — in a class action — alleging the BNSF Railway Company violated Illinois State law governing the collection of biometric data.
Specifically, the lawsuit alleges that the company violated Illinois’ biometric information privacy law by collecting and storing truckers’ fingerprints — doing so, as the plaintiffs allege, without informed consent. .
In the context of the case, BNSF operates several intermodal facilities in Illinois that use an automatic gate system (AGS) to control truckers’ access and ability to enter and exit facilities. If drivers are not registered with the AGS, they are asked to register by scanning their fingerprints.
But the processes do not include drivers submitting written consent or explicit terms as to how long the data will be stored. On subsequent visits, the driver scans their fingerprints to enter the facility. BNSF had countered that the third-party company Remprex was and is the sole operator/owner of the biometric system (and therefore should have been the party sued); the plaintiff(s) allege that BNSF is the ultimate owner of the system.
The key issues of transparency, consent — and what might happen if that consent is not explicitly given — are integral to this case.
In February, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit against Facebook’s parent company, Meta Platforms, claiming the company’s now-halted use of facial recognition technology violates state laws. ‘State on the confidentiality of personal biometric data. The AG is suing Meta for hundreds of billions of dollars.
Read more: Texas AG Says Facebook’s Facial Recognition Violated State Law
“Facebook secretly harvested Texans’ most personal information — photos and videos — for its own benefit,” Paxton said at the time. “Texas law has prohibited such harvesting without informed consent for more than 20 years.”
These are just two examples of the issues that need to be resolved in the legal arena. But consumers are increasingly aware and willing to embrace biometrics. As shown in the PYMNTS research, more than a third of consumers are willing to use biometric methods for authentication purposes.
Nearly half of consumers surveyed by PYMNTS said they were ready to use fingerprint scans in both private and public environments, according to last month’s edition of The Future of Authentication in Financial Services. , a collaboration between PYMNTS and Entersekt. Among consumers comfortable with these methods, 36% use fingerprint scans, 28% use facial scans, and 18% use voice scans at least once a month.
See more : Could passwords give way to biometric authentication?