Amazon sued for not telling New York store customers about facial recognition

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Amazon sued for not telling New York store customers about facial recognition
Short Title Amazon sued for unconsentual facial recognition
Location New York City, USA
Date March 16th, 2023

Solove Harm Surveillance, Exclusion
Information Biometric Information, Identifying, Physical Characteristic, Interactions with AI
Threat Actors Amazon

Individuals
Affected Customers
High Risk Groups
Tangible Harms Loss of Privacy, Lack of Consent

Amazon did not alert it's New York City customers that they were monitored by facial recognition technology in their Amazon Go convenience stores.

Description

A lawyer Alfredo Perez has sued Amazon, saying that Amazon did not alert its New York City customers that they were being monitored by facial recognition technology (FRT). Amazon uses FRT in it's Amazon Go store, which is a store where a customer can enter the store, pick up items from the shelf, and once the person leaves the store they will automatically be charged to their payment instead of going to a cashier or a self-checkout machine. This requires constant use of FRT to monitor which customer has which item and which items have been picked up by customers. Thus, once a customer enters this building, they will be constantly and rigorously monitored by FRT.

The lawsuit says that as of March 2023, Amazon only recently put up signs saying that FRT is being used in the building. This is over a year after NY's Biometric Identifier Information Law (BIPA) came into effect in 2021, which legally requires stores to post signs stating if any kind of tracking is in use, such as scans or fingerprints. Amazon did not comment as to why they ignored this law for so long.

Amazon's lack of compliance with the law shows that customers are walking into the store without the awareness that FRT is being used. This violates their privacy. Instead, customers should be aware through signs the second they enter the building. That way, a customer can consent to this technology by continuing to enter the building. If a customer doesn't want his/her face scanned, that person can leave the building after seeing the sign.

Laws and Regulations

New York City Biometric Identifier Information Law

Sources

https://www.cnbc.com/2023/03/16/amazon-sued-for-not-telling-new-york-store-customers-about-facial-recognition.html