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Vanguard Voice Verification Biometric Privacy Violations – Class Action Investigation

November 17, 2021 by  

Ahdoot Wolfson is investigating a potential class action lawsuit against Vanguard Brokerage Services (“Vanguard”) for possible violations of the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act(commonly known as “BIPA”). 

Vanguard is a well-known investment and brokerage firm that we believe violates BIPA by failing to obtain written consent from customers and failing to provide required disclosures to customers before creating voiceprints of Illinois residents who enroll in Vanguard Voice Verification.

Vanguard Voice Verification allows a customer to use their voice instead of a password to gain access to their account. When a customer enrolls in the service, the system asks the customer to repeat a phrase. Vanguard often uses the phrase, “At Vanguard, my voice is my password.” Vanguard then uses sophisticated biometric technology to create a “voiceprint” based on the unique patterns of the customer’s voice. Whenever that customer calls Vanguard, they are asked to repeat the phrase they used when they enrolled. The system then compares the customer’s live voice to the stored voiceprint. If it matches, the customer is authenticated and permitted to conduct certain transactions over the phone.

The Illinois BIPA statute requires written consent from the customer before a company may collect, store, or use the customer’s biometric information, including voiceprints. BIPA also requires a company using biometric data to publish a policy establishing guidelines for the permanent destruction of the data in the future. Vanguard’s creation and use of voiceprints without written consent and without published guidelines for destruction of the data may violate the statute.

If Vanguard has created and used your voiceprint in violation of BIPA, you may be entitled to statutory damages, including:

  • $1,000 for each violation;
  • $5,000 for each intentional or reckless violation; and
  • Reasonable attorneys’ fees and other litigation expenses.

If you enrolled in Vanguard Voice Verification while a resident of Illinois, please fill out the form below and one of the attorneys at Ahdoot Wolfson will contact you.