On January 25, 2019, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled companies can now be sued if they collect biometric data such as fingerprints or face prints without informed opt-in consent. It was also ruled that users don’t need to prove identity fraud or physical harm as injury and that control of their biometric privacy is injury enough. The ruling was unanimous and was a big win for biometric privacy in the state of Illinois.
It all started when an amusement park kept a 14-year-old boy’s fingerprint without his consent. This went against the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA), which prohibits companies from gathering, using, or sharing biometric information without informed opt-in consent. Because of Rosenbach v. Six Flags, breach of biometric privacy in Illinois is now an offense that can be sued over without any actual harm. Not obtaining prior consent to collect biometric data is harm enough.
Collecting personal data without consent is an invasion of privacy, which is why this ruling is so important for the state of Illinois. Companies should not be allowed to collect biometric identifiers and biometric information without users providing prior consent or be permitted the right to opt out. In this day and age, technology has become a way of life. Biometric identification is happening more and more, which makes this law so important for the privacy protection of citizens. With the law of BIPA in place, the citizens of Illinois have a greater chance of protecting their privacy.
Violators of the law will be facing statutory fines of up to $5,000 per violation. To avoid any violation and fines, companies must evaluate data they’ve collected, then determine whether or not it is violating BIPA. If they are, they must take appropriate steps to comply with the Act’s procedural requirements. Companies are now required to provide users with written notice of biometric data collected and obtain the users’ written consent to collect biometric information. They must also provide retention parameters and guidelines for permanently destroying biometric identifiers.
With this recent ruling, Illinois citizens are now better protected. Even if no harm or injury comes from collecting their biometric data, they can sue companies for collecting the data if taken without prior consent. In a technologically advanced world, it’s important for everyone to have their right to privacy. WIth the ruling of the Illinois Supreme Court, Illinoisans now have a better chance at protecting their privacy.