Wendy's Employees filed a class-action lawsuit against their employer in Illinois where the fast food chain is accused of mishandling employees fingerprints. The lawsuit was filed in Illinois on September 11, in a Cook County court, according to ZDNet who obtained a copy of the complaint. The complaint is focused on Wendy's biometric systems which are used to clock in and out of cash registers.
The biometric system is required to store the fingerprints in order to recognize them for future logins but the storing of personal biometric data such as fingerprints was never mentioned by the employer. Wendy's did not seek permission to use the fingerprints.
The plaintiffs are represented by former employees Martinique Owens and Amelia Garcia, both say that Wendy's broke State laws, in particular, the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) which requires employers to inform employees of how the company handles their data.
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The complaint states, "While there are tremendous benefits to using biometric time clocks in the workplace, there are also serious risks. Unlike key fobs or identification cards–which can be changed or replaced if stolen or compromised–fingerprints are unique, permanent biometric identifiers associated with the employee. This exposes employees to serious and irreversible privacy risks."
The class-action suit claims software provider Discovery NCR Corporation supplied the fast-food chain with the biometric clocks, POS, and cash register access systems. The lawsuit claims that Discovery NCR Corporation likely holds all Wendy's employees' fingerprints and is not abiding by the BIPA law. The lawsuit names NCR. A law was enacted in 2008 after a privacy scandal was exposed between a similar vendor and employees.
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Biometric company Pay By Touch provided several major retailers with fingerprint scanners throughout the state. After the ensuing scandal in late 2007, the company filed for bankruptcy. Is it possible a similar debacle will occur between former Wendy's employees and NCR? Concurrently with the Pay By Touch scandal, neither state officials nor consumers knew that the fingerprints were being collected at the stores, The date was sent directly to the vendor, a third-party company who would then store them.
The discovery prompted lawmakers to enact legislation that protects consumers biometric data from misuse at the hands of a third-party company with no accountability to the fingerprints' owners. The system alarmed the world. Pay By Touch went bankrupt, but during the bankruptcy, everyone realized the fingerprints could be sold off to anyone to recoup costs during the bankruptcy. Soon after, the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) was created.
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<img src="https://media.8ch.net/file_store/4f3dd1bdc6ab3874433b0a4d4042573c80ada4c06900b188f51dfa994e077500.jpg" style="max-height:640px;max-width:360px;">
The plaintiffs in the case against Wendy's are requesting that a judge allow the class-action classification and a trial by jury. The lawsuit also seeks to recover equitable relief, litigation expenses, and attorneys' fees from the defendant. Plaintiffs also demanded Wendy's disclose if it "sold, leased, traded, or otherwise profited from Plaintiffs' and the Class's biometric identifiers or biometric information." The answer to that question is an obvious one, in 2018 data is collected and sold in everything we do. The other thing the plaintiffs demanded was to know if their fingerprints were ever used to track them. Wendy's has not commented on the lawsuit and the company's lawyers have declined to comment.
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