Amazon is facing a new class-action lawsuit alleging that the company failed to disclose its use of facial recognition technology to customers of Amazon Go convenience stores in New York City.
CNBC reports that a class-action lawsuit against Amazon claims that the company failed to disclose to its customers in New York City that they were being watched by facial recognition technology in its Amazon Go convenience stores. A 2021 New York law requiring businesses to post signs if they are tracking customers’ biometric information, such as facial scans or fingerprints, was broken by Amazon, according to the lawsuit.
With the promise to transform the shopping experience by enabling customers to walk in, take items off the shelves, and leave without having to go through a traditional checkout process, Amazon unveiled its Go stores in 2018. When customers leave the store, Amazon charges their accounts based on what was observed. According to the company’s website, the first New York location opened in 2019 and there are currently 10 stores in the area.
Over a year since the disclosure law went into effect, the lawsuit claims that Amazon has only recently posted signs informing New York customers of its use of facial recognition technology. Requests for comment from Amazon have not yet received a response.
The Surveillance Technology Oversight Project (STOP), a legal advocacy group dedicated to New York’s privacy protections, is representing Alfredo Perez, the case’s plaintiff. STOP’s project director, Albert Cahn, stressed the significance of regional privacy laws in a statement. “It means that even a global tech giant can’t ignore local privacy laws,” he said. “As we wait for long overdue federal privacy laws, it shows there is so much local governments can do to protect their residents.”
According to the lawsuit, the “Just Walk Out” technology that powers the Amazon Go experience depends on ongoing body monitoring of patrons. The suit states, “To make this ‘Just Walk Out’ technology possible, the Amazon Go stores constantly collect and use customers’ biometric identifier information, including by scanning the palms of some customers 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.”
Breitbart News recently reported that the tech giant plans to close eight of its Amazon Go shops.
Internet retail giant Amazon is closing eight of its Amazon Go convenience stores in San Francisco, Seattle, and New York City, amid wider cuts in the tech giant’s brick-and-mortar stores. Several of the stores are located in Seattle’s troubled downtown district where crime and open-air drug use are crowding out big business.
Breitbart News reported in September on planned cutbacks at Amazon, which included the closing of all but one of its U.S.-based customer call centers.
Read more at CNBC here.
Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan
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