Company Which Developed Parking Survey for Gainesville, SP Plus, Faced Previous Lawsuit

Company Which Developed Parking Survey for Gainesville, SP Plus, Faced Previous Lawsuit
Andrew Schaer speaking on paid parking's potential problems

Last Thursday, Gainesville city commissioners voted unanimously to convert free downtown parking to paid/timed parking. 

SP Plus, the consulting firm that developed a parking survey on which the City of Gainesville based its changes, has faced a previous class action lawsuit alleging the company of violating Illinois’s biometric privacy laws through unlawful facial recognition software.

The plaintiff filing the suit alleged SP Plus violated his rights by obtaining his biometric data without disclosing the purpose and length of time in which his biometrics would be used. The company allegedly violated Illinois state law by scanning people's faces through automated kiosks located at entry gates in parking garages. 

During early public comment, Here Again Records owner, and Downtown Business Collective (DBC) member Andrew Schaer stated DBC took their own survey which showed 35 out of 35 businesses surveyed opposed the proposed removal of free parking in downtown Gainesville, primarily due to customer deterrence. He pointed out that citizens’ tax dollars already pay for the parking spaces, comparing it to asking a bicyclist to pay for the right to use the bike lane.

Schaer made his closing statements pointing out paid parking and SP Plus's potential problems. 

“Parking apps have been the victims of various hacks in recent years. In 2021, there was a massive data breach in the Midwest. There was another in Europe in 2023. Both involved the information of millions of customers,” Schaer stated before informing attendees about SP Plus’s previous legal troubles. 

The changes to parking will be implemented in August. The city’s website clarifies that parking will remain free on weekends and city-observed holidays. 

Jack Walden

Jack Walden

Jack Walden is the creator of Gnvinfo and a 2nd year journalism major at Santa Fe College. From general information, to exposing falsehoods and corruption, Jack seeks to deliver the truth.
Gainesville, FL