New York Shoppers Sue Amazon Over Hidden Use of Facial Recognition

Amazon is now being sued in the state of New York. This comes on charges that it did not adequately disclose to customers shopping in its physical retail outlets that it makes use of face recognition technology.

The lawsuit asserts the company’s use of facial recognition violates New York’s consumer protection law. This mandates that companies disclose when they make use of biometric technology. Specifically, the law requires that businesses identify when they do so.


According to the complaint, Amazon’s use of facial recognition technology was not disclosed to customers who entered its Amazon Go stores.

These stores use a combination of cameras and sensors to automatically charge customers for items they take from the shelves; the complaint alleges that Amazon did not disclose its use of this technology to its customers.

The case was brought on behalf of two plaintiffs who claim they were not informed of the face recognition technology until after they visited the businesses and were the subjects of the technology.

The plaintiffs are seeking damages and injunctive relief to prevent Amazon from using the technology without proper disclosure.

They argue that the use of facial recognition technology without adequate notice and consent violates their privacy rights. It could lead to discrimination against individuals who may be misidentified by the technology.

This is not the first time Amazon has faced legal action over its use of facial recognition technology.

In 2019, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit against the company on behalf of several civil rights groups, alleging its facial recognition technology violated the rights of people of color and women.

Misuse and Abuse

The ACLU has also raised concerns about the potential misuse of facial recognition technology by law enforcement agencies and called for a ban on its use by police departments across the United States.

Amazon defended its use of facial recognition technology, arguing it can be used to improve customer experiences and enhance security. The company has also claimed it implemented safeguards to protect the privacy of its customers and prevent the misuse of the technology.

The outcome of this lawsuit could have far-reaching implications for the use of facial recognition technology in retail stores and other public spaces.

As concerns over privacy and data protection continue to grow, businesses may be required to provide more transparency and accountability in their use of biometric technology, particularly in the absence of clear regulations governing its use.

Consumers are advised to exercise caution when visiting stores or other public spaces that use facial recognition technology and to be aware of their rights under New York’s consumer protection law.

They should also consider using privacy-enhancing tools and technologies, such as facial recognition blockers, to protect their identities and personal data.

This article appeared in NewsHouse and has been published here with permission.