Harrah’s Casino, a brand operated by Caesars Entertainment, has locations all over the United States, and one of them is in Joliet, Ill. What made it hit the headlines recently was that it allegedly used facial-recognition software technology, which is against individual rights to privacy.
Therefore, the property located in downtown Joliet is facing a big lawsuit, which needs to go through various courts before it is confirmed and utilized. However, once that takes place, Caesars Entertainment could be facing a huge penalty — we’re talking millions of dollars by the time all of this ends.
The casino lawsuit was started by people named Leon Martin and Anthony Adams. Both of them are patrons of the casino, and soon, several more joined the cause, claiming that the casino’s use of the facial-recognition technology directly violates a legislative piece dubbed the Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) which was voted back in 2008.
The main reason why the casino patrons decided to sue the casino was that the property did not create “any following written policy” after the implementation of the technology had been initiated. Martin and Adams are both long-time visitors of the Harrah’s Casino, and both of them participate in the Caesars Rewards program.
The three attorneys who created and presented the lawsuit are Douglas Werman from Chicago, and Dana Cimera and Joseph A. Fitapelli from New York. If the lawsuit goes through, Caesars Entertainment will have to pay compensation, which will have to be either liquidated or a monetary one, whichever is higher. Moreover, the compensation will have to be paid for every single point that was against BIPA.
According to the attorneys, the reason why this is such a big intrusion of personal privacy is embedded in the way the technology works. Basically, cameras that are placed around the casino would scan people’s faces and then match them with faces from databases, finding out more about those visitors.
Although casinos nowadays considered using this technology to maximize their security, it is not really the best solution out there, as many people feel exposed that way. Moreover, the fact that such technology exists means it could be used against someone in the future, which is a scary scenario once you think about it.
So far, we were only able to see such things in dystopian sci-fi movies, but it is a part of our reality.
Of course, facial recognition is created to minimize crime rates, and people overall are not against it. However, the technology needs to be regulated and audited somehow in the future to ensure that people’s privacy remains intact despite their faces being scanned.
Attorneys state that the use of technology in the particular case of the Harrah’s Casino in Illinois should be banned for two reasons. The first and the most important one is that the casino never actually told its patrons that they were going to collect biometric data about them. By law, they not only have to inform them but also to seek consent for doing it.
The second reason is the lack of a written policy that the casino should have written to explain how it would use the collected data.
To sum up, biometric surveillance is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it could be quite helpful if used properly and with regulations.
Some states already have some laws pertaining to facial recognition and similar technologies, but there’s still a lot of work to be done in order to make everyone feel safe and secure.