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BNSF ordered to pay truck drivers $228 million for collecting their fingerprints without consent

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BNSF Railway Co. has been ordered to pay out hundreds of millions of dollars to truck drivers following a class action lawsuit alleging that the company violated Illinois privacy laws.

On October 12, a federal jury ruled in favor of a class action suit that includes 45,600 truck drivers following a one week trial in Chicago, Fox32 reports.

BNSF was ordered to pay out $228 million, or $5000 per truck driver, after the jury ruled that the company violated the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act of 2008, which requires written permission to gather a person’s biometric information, including retinal scans and fingerprints.

According to the lawsuit, BNSF required truck drivers to submit to fingerprint scans prior to entering Chicago-area rail yards. The suit argued that BNSF did not tell the truck drivers that they would maintain the scanned fingerprints in a database.

“I’m really happy with the verdict today… all I ever wanted was justice for the over 45,000 truck drivers and myself,” lead plaintiff Richard Rogers said at a press conference after the verdict. “[The collection of biometric data] was something that I never felt comfortable with.”

BNSF said that they disagree with the jury’s decision and plan to appeal.

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