McDonald's drive-through chatbot order taker

June 2021
Updated: December 2021

McDonald's stands accused of using voice recognition to identify customers in Chicago, USA, without their consent.

The fast food company is being sued (pdf) by customer Shannon Carpenter for secretly using a voice recognition system when taking his drive-through order.

The class-action lawsuit claims McDonald's is using the technology to identify repeat customers at sites across Chicago, and that it is connecting personal voice data with car license plate numbers so that customers can be more easily recognised whichever restaurant they visit.

Illinois' Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) requires the collection and use of voiceprints, fingerprints, facial scans, handprints, and palm scans requires user consent.

Operator: McDonald's/McD Tech Labs
Developer: McDonald's/McD Tech Labs
Country: USA
Sector: Travel/hospitality
Purpose: Personalise orders
Technology: Voice recognition; NLP/text analysis
Issue: Privacy; Ethics; Employment - jobs
Opacity: Purpose; Consent