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In what’s believed to be the primary jury verdict associated to Illinois’ strict biometrics privateness regulation, a $228 million judgment has been entered in opposition to BNSF Railway in a class-action lawsuit over the railroad’s assortment of fingerprint information.
“That is the primary instance of a jury standing up and saying, sure, that is necessary info that’s extremely delicate and value defending,” mentioned David Gerbie, an lawyer representing the truck driver who introduced the go well with.
Within the federal lawsuit, Richard Rogers, a truck driver for a third-party firm, mentioned BNSF requires drivers to make use of fingerprints and “associated biometric info” to entry the railroad’s intermodal amenities. However the railroad did not get written consent earlier than gathering and storing biometric info and did not disclose in writing the aim for which it was gathering and storing the information, violating Illinois’ Biometric Data Privateness Act, he mentioned within the go well with.
The category motion lawsuit lined about 45,000 members. After the judgment, entered Oct. 12, every might get about $5,000.
BNSF spokesperson Lena Kent mentioned the railroad deliberate to attraction the ruling.
“We disagree with and are dissatisfied by the jury’s verdict and suppose the choice displays a misunderstanding of key points,” the railroad mentioned in a press release.
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Illinois positioned restrictions on companies’ assortment, storage and use of biometric information when the legislature handed the Biometric Privateness Data Act in 2008. On the time the regulation was thought-about the hardest within the nation, requiring written notification and prior consent, prohibiting benefiting from the information and permitting individuals to sue over allegations of violations.
Different corporations have reached settlements in lawsuits introduced beneath the regulation, together with Google and the mother or father firm of the app Snapchat. The BNSF case marks the primary case to go to trial and attain a verdict.
Gerbie mentioned he was happy with the end result, and the scale of the award. The end result reveals the regulation is significant and a jury is prepared to implement it, he mentioned.
“I feel it’ll make it clear to corporations that you have to be actually certain you want this information earlier than you acquire it,” he mentioned. “And when you do want to gather it, you need to adjust to the regulation.”
BNSF Railway ranks No. 11 on the Transport Matters Prime 50 listing of the biggest international carriers, and BNSF Logistics ranks No. 69 on the Transport Matters Prime 100 listing of the biggest logistics corporations in North America.
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