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Collection of Biometric Information Under the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act: How a Recent Illinois Supreme Court Decision Exposes Private Entities to Potential Liability

On January 25, 2019, the Illinois Supreme Court reversed an appellate court decision and held that an “aggrieved” person capable of filing suit under the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (“the Act”) need only allege a technical violation of the statute—no actual injury is necessary. By its decision, the Supreme Court may have opened the floodgates for plaintiffs seeking a fine for each technical violation of the Act, as well as reasonable attorneys’ fees. The impact on private entities that collect or store biometric information has been almost immediate, and it is now more important than ever to ensure compliance with the Illinois statute.

Under the Act, “biometric information” includes retina or iris scans, fingerprints, voiceprints, and scans of the hand or facial geometry. Private entities possessing or collecting these biometric identifiers are now easy targets for suit unless they are in strict compliance with the Act. For example, compliance for entities in possession of biometric information involves developing a written policy that establishes a retention schedule and guidelines for permanently destroying the information. The laws that govern collection of biometric information are even more demanding.

Click here for a detailed summary of the Illinois Supreme Court’s recent decision and its immediate impact on litigation involving the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act.

Should you have any questions or concerns regarding the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act or any of the issues raise here, or require assistance in obtaining compliance with the Act, please contact Michael A. Airdo at [email protected] or 312-506-4480, Colette Kopon at [email protected] or 312-506-4459, or Patrick Jansen at [email protected] or 312-506-4479.