Illinois biometric privacy rules may bankrupt small businesses
On Friday, the Illinois Supreme Court announced a ruling in a biometric privacy case against White Castle for requiring use of a fingerprint scanner to access pay stub information. The Court determined that, under the Illinois biometric privacy law (BIPA), companies are liable for every instance in which a person is asked to provide their biometric information without prior informed consent, opening the door to potentially massive fines. The Supreme Court urged the legislature to revisit the law’s excessive penalties.
“As states across the country consider enacting their own biometric privacy bills, this ruling should be a signal that the original law needs work,” said Chamber of Progress CEO Adam Kovacevich. “Not only has Illinois’ law eliminated useful customer tools like biometric security features, it’s now threatening to bankrupt local businesses. Everyone wants better privacy protections online, but that requires a nuanced debate about how to improve safeguards without threatening innovations or businesses.”
Earlier this month, Maryland held a hearing on biometric privacy legislation in which some lawmakers expressed concern over the possibility that such legislation would eliminate important online security features, like facial recognition to access banking information. At a similar hearing in Arizona, lawmakers remarked there was still work to be done on biometric privacy legislation to ensure their bill didn’t endanger local businesses.
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