Protecting Customers and Employees Against Privacy Rights Violations

In July 2021, New York City passed a law regarding biometric identifier information. The law applies to consumers and employees, providing them with legal protection. They would now potentially have the right to sue for privacy rights violations. Under the new law companies that are profiting through biometric information can be violating a consumer or employee’s rights. Profiting includes buying, leasing, trading or selling biometric info. The law applies only to certain types of businesses.

What is biometric identifier information?

Based on the new NYC law, the following means of gathering information fall into the category of biometric identifier information:

  • Retina or iris scans
  • Fingerprint
  • Voiceprint
  • Scan of hand or face geometry or any other identifying characteristic

This data includes behavioral information unique to the person, such as:

  • How the person acts
  • How they walk
  • Typing patterns
  • Mouse and finger movements
  • Website and social media connection patterns

If a business is gathering biometric information, the company must post a conspicuous notification at the store or establishment entrance. The notice must state the fact in plain, simple language. This requirement applies to food and drink establishments, recreational facilities and retail stores. Employees or consumers who want their information removed must notify the company. From the date of notification, the company has 30 days to remove their information. In addition, they must inform the individual that they have done so. If the company fails to remove their information, the employee or consumer has the right to sue them.

Compensation for damages ranges from $500 to $5,000 for every infraction. The compensation of $500 applies to negligent damages. However, the $5,000 penalty applies to intentional or reckless infractions.

Biometric technology issues

Identifying people through biometric data has become widespread. However, there are also problems with such technology. For example, facial recognition technology identifies people, but the accuracy is not always reliable. This is true especially for women, children, African Americans and Asians. Unfortunately, the algorithms for these groups are not always accurate. In addition, changing biometric data or updating it, is not an easy matter. Furthermore, with hacked systems, there is no way of correcting the stolen information.

Get experienced legal help with biometric violations

The Law Office of Peter A. Romero has years of experience defending employees in claims brought against employers. Clients throughout NYC, including in Queens, Brooklyn, The Bronx and Harlem/Upper Manhattan turn to us for legal help. Call us at (631) 257-5588 or contact us online to schedule an appointment.