A class-action lawsuit against Amazon claims that the corporation failed to adequately educate New York City customers about the collecting of biometric data in Amazon Go locations, including palm scans and measurements of people’s bodies to track customers.
According to the lawsuit, which was submitted on Thursday in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on behalf of Alfredo Rodriguez Perez, Amazon broke New York City law by gathering biometric identifier information without properly informing customers in stores about the practises.
How does Amazon Go work?
In 2018, Amazon introduced Amazon Go. According to Amazon’s website, there are already 29 locations around the nation, including 10 Amazon Go stores in New York.
The “Just Walk Out” technology that Amazon Go advertises is accessible to customers using the Amazon Shopping app, Amazon One, or, in some cases, a scannable credit card connected to an Amazon account.
Consumers may scan their smartphones to enter an Amazon Go location, take whatever merchandise they want, and leave without physically paying for it. According to Amazon’s FAQs, items taken from a store’s shelf will be added to your “virtual cart” and those put back on the shelf will be taken out. With Amazon Fresh stores, similar “Just Walk Out” technology is promoted.
According to Thursday’s class action lawsuit, “To make this ‘Just Walk Out’ technology possible, the Amazon Go stores constantly collect and use customers’ biometric identifier information, including by scanning some customers’ palms to identify them and by applying computer vision, deep learning algorithms, and sensor fusion that measure the shape and size of each customer’s body to identify customers, track where they move in the stores, and determine what they have purchased.”
Only customers who sign up for Amazon One, the company’s “contactless, palm-based identity and payment service,” will “have their palm-biometric data securely gathered,” the company said in a statement. Amazon One can be used to visit some Amazon Go stores.
During the enrolling process, these people received the necessary privacy notices, according to Amazon.
Amazon made no remarks on Amazon. Walk around purportedly noting the size and form of shoppers’ bodies.
Amazon Go locations allegedly “collect biometric identification information on every single customer, including information on the size and shape of every customer’s body,” according to the lawsuit.
‘Just Walk Out’ technology is unlawful, according to a lawsuit
The lawsuit refers to “The Biometric Identifier Information Law,” which was passed in 2021 and mandates that businesses in New York City that collect, retain, or store biometric identifier information inform customers of their practises “by posting a clear and conspicuous sign” near each entrance and stating it in “plain, simple language.”
The statute in New York City covers a variety of factors used to identify a person, such as facial recognition, retina scans, fingerprints, handprints, body shape, and more.
The lawsuit claims that Amazon failed to place any signs at the entrances of any Amazon Go stores in New York City that would have informed customers that those stores collect, retain, convert, and store consumers’ biometric identifier information between January 15, 2022, when the law’s implementing rule went into effect, and March 13, 2023.
Rodriguez Perez told Amazon on February 7 that he had been to an Amazon Go location and that the business was obligated to display sufficient signs regarding the gathering of consumers’ biometric identifying information, according to the lawsuit. Amazon “did not respond at all to Mr. Rodriguez Perez’s letter,” the lawsuit claims.
Nevertheless, the new signage, according to the complaint, do not adhere to New York City law in terms of location, look, and content, and they fail to alert users that Amazon will collect biometric identifying information in addition to Amazon One.
The lawsuit claims that Amazon is actively giving false assurances that it will not collect any biometric information from the majority of consumers, as opposed to concealing its acquisition of biometric information from users for 14 months as it previously did.
Rodriguez Perez requests, among other things, that Amazon be found to have broken the law, that Amazon be ordered to comply, and that he and the other Amazon consumers included in the class receive damages.