In a somewhat bizarre course of events, the Blackhawks once again made headlines for a trial. Only this time, it was because the organization allegedly collected biometric data without consent. Then, as suddenly as the story aired on the newswire, it was over.
The Chicago Blackhawks case was willfully dismissed. TSN’s Rick Westhead published an article claiming that the man who brought the original charge against the team had agreed to dismiss the lawsuit. It all went very quickly but left a few questions. One of them, why would the Blackhawks care about collecting biometrics anyway?
If you are not familiar with the term, biometric data is basically a way to record information about a person’s body or behavior, but allows individuals to verify their identity. This technology is already quite widespread. For example, it is more and more common for computers and smartphones to have fingerprint scanners. Facial recognition, which the lawsuit was about, like fingerprint scanners, is basically just another example of biometric data.
There are actually several reasons why a sports team would want this kind of data. In fact, most sports teams collect biometric data from athletes, which leads to all kinds of special questions. However, there are other reasons. For example, as NPR reported, a football team in Denmark implemented biometric data collection to track violent fans. We’ve probably all seen viral videos of fans hitting each other, and this technology could reduce some of that nonsense. Additionally, according to CNBC, biometric data could potentially have an impact on ticketing for sports fans, just as there are separate biometric scanners at airports.
After the story was dismissed, Westhead tweeted a statement from the Blackhawks and the original lawsuit.
In addition to the story discussed here, Westhead also covered legal issues surrounding allegations of sexual assault by a former coach against a former player. Unlike the facial recognition trial, this one is ongoing.
Why did the complainant think his data was being collected? There are clear cases of biometric data being used in sports, but this particular lawsuit turned out to be a bit surprising, and the speed at which it disappeared was just as surprising. All in one day. So ok!
Will there be a lot to focus on this season, like if Chicago is really a playoff team or if Marc-André Fleury can win the Vézina Trophy again? No doubt, Chicago fans want the new Blackhawks goaltender to walk away with the trophy on his way to the Stanley Cup! However, the dismissal of the most recent legal process is one less distraction as the 2021-22 season approaches.