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Illinois Supermarket Chain Sued for Millions over Using Biometric Data for Time Clocks

5 September, 2017 Enrique Estagle

As reported by Supermarket News, Mariano’s, a Chicago-based supermarket chain, is currently facing multiple lawsuits for their alleged violation of the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act.

Also known as BIPA, the law, among other provisions, explicitly prohibits any private entity to collect biometric data without the owner’s permission. It also mandates the private entity to protect biometric data within reasonable care.

Former employees of the supermarket chain claim that their employer violated the BIPA when they were required, without obtaining prior written permission, to record their attendance with their fingerprint on a biometric time clock. The plaintiffs also claim that the employer never provided a written document that outlined the specific purpose of data collection, how it will be stored, and how it will be destroyed.

Damages could reach up to 10 million US dollars (or 12.5 million AU dollars.)

The Burden for Biometric Time Clock Users

Biometric time clocks are favoured by a lot of businesses for its accuracy. However, unlike company IDs, people can’t request for a replacement fingerprint (or a new iris) if the biometric data fall into the wrong hands. That’s why it wasn’t a surprise that the state of Illinois passed a law that strictly restricts its use. This can prove to be more burdensome than beneficial to any business owner who is using biometric time clocks in their business.

Time Clock Software: Accuracy Without the Hassle

Tanda’s time clock software accurately tracks employee time and attendance without the need for biometric data. The application takes a photo* of employees as they clock in and out and stores it with their digital timesheets. At any time, managers and business owners can review it to verify their attendance. And all employee information is encrypted and stored securely in data centres with best-in-class security protocols.

Biometric time clocks can potentially give your business more problems than benefits in the long run. Switching to a time clock software such as Tanda gives you the accuracy you need for time attendance, plus other features, with zero stress.

*Photos are not considered as “biometric identifiers” by the BIPA

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