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Railroad company BNSF to pay truckers $75 million for collecting their fingerprints without consent

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Railroad company BNSF has agreed to pay tens of millions of dollars to settle a class-action suit that accused the company of violating Illinois privacy laws by collecting truck driver fingerprints without obtaining proper consent.

On Monday, February 26, Fort Worth-headquartered BNSF agreed to pay $75 million to settle a lawsuit brought by a class of 46,500 truck drivers, Reuters reports.

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

Lawyers representing the truckers argued that BNSF 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.

BNSF was previously ordered to pay out $228 million, or $5000 per truck driver, following a jury trial, but this damages amount was overturned.

BNSF is a Berkshire Hathaway Inc. subsidiary.

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