Amazon stores collect data on ‘every customer’, New York lawsuit says

  • Amazon Go stores, which have no cashiers, use a system of cameras and technology to track customers.
  • A new lawsuit alleges that the company’s stores in New York illegally collect data about the size and shape of customers without informing them.
  • An attorney handling the case said he hopes the lawsuit will attract the attention of local and federal governments.

Amazon Go store customers are tracked using a system of cameras, sensors and motion detection software to create a shopping experience without cashiers or checkout lines – but a new lawsuit argues that the company never really informed customers in New York. that they are being watched.

The class action lawsuit filed this week claims Amazon collected data about customers’ body shapes and sizes — and even scans of some customers’ hands — without proper warning.

“From the moment a person walks through the door … Amazon uses computer vision to track people,” Peter Roman-Friedman, lead trial attorney, told Insider.

The lawsuit specifically involves nine Amazon’s Go stores in New York City, where city law states companies must disclose when customer biometric data is collected. Still, Roman-Friedman said he hopes the lawsuit will get the attention of lawmakers at other local and federal levels.

In a statement to Insider, the company pointed out that it does not use facial recognition software in its stores – although the New York lawsuit did not mention facial recognition in its complaints.

The company also disputes the notion that the technology it uses to track customers inside the store constitutes biometric data – which is broadly defined by city law as a physiological or biological characteristic used to identify a individual.

Data is crucial to the ability of high-tech stores to charge customers for the items they want without a cashier. Amazon creates skeletal models based on people’s height and shape, according to the lawsuit, which reflect the actual movements of customers inside the store.

“[T]”The Just Walk Out technology used to distinguish shoppers from one another is not biometric and is only used to link a customer to their purchases during a single store visit,” a spokesperson said. Amazon at Insider on Saturday.

Amazon hadn’t posted signs in its New York stores dealing with biometric data for more than a year, putting them up this week – after the New York Times reported their absence, according to the lawsuit. The new signs state that no biometric data is collected outside of the use of the palm scanner, according to the lawsuit.

“Only shoppers who choose to enroll in Amazon One and choose to be identified by waving their palm over the Amazon One device have their palm biometric data securely collected, and those individuals receive the privacy information appropriate during the registration process,” the spokesperson said. said.

Amazon Go customers must use an app or credit card linked to their Amazon account, or the store’s palm scanner, to enter the store. Shoppers then pick up the items they want to buy, and Amazon tracks the items customers take before automatically charging them when they leave the store.

The lawsuit also claims that the new signs in Amazon Go stores are designed with colors, style and fonts that make them easier to ignore.

“We believe Amazon’s conduct has gone from bad to worse,” Roman-Friedman told Insider.


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