Privacy in a World of Snooping – Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA)

It seems like everything is watching you nowadays.  The government, Facebook, your smart phones and much more.  Illinois passed one of the most strident laws in the country to protect people’s privacy called the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA).  The Illinois Supreme Court recently held that a person doesn’t need to show monetary or other damages – the fact that your right to privacy is violated is enough basis for a lawsuit.

BIPA provides protections for you with your biometric data such as fingerprints, voice patterns, footprints, retinal identifiers.  If an Illinois employer attempts to gather any biometric data, you should consult with our biometric law firm to see if their conduct is against the law.  You might be entitled to $5,000 per violation and attorney’s fees.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA):

Q. Why would a company harvest biometric data?

A. Some companies will attempt to extract as much information as possible from you to understand your behaviors and habits and profile you. Others may try to sell the information.  Generally, in an employee context, the information is used to do things like access to secure locations (retinal, handprints, and fingerprints),  medical wellness evaluations and most commonly to clock in (fingerprint) (which may have its own wage and hour abuses).

Q. What are BIPA violations?

A. The Biometric Information Privacy Act, 740 ILCS 14 et seq. (BIPA), mandates that the collector of the biometric data must:

1.Obtain Informed consent

2.Limits disclosure

3.Discusses protection and retention guidelines

4.Prohibits biometric profiteering

5.Creates a private right of action for BIPA violations, meaning an BIPA lawyer can bring a lawsuit on your behalf. Many BIPA class actions suits have  been brought such as:

a. BIPA Lawsuit – Norgberg v. Shutterfly, Inc., 1:15-cv05351(N.D. Ill. June 17, 2015)

b. BIPA Lawsuit – Patel v. Facebook Inc., 1:15-cv- 04265 (N.D. Ill. May 14, 2015)

c. BIPA Class Action – Pezen v. Facebook Inc., 1:15-cv-03484 (N.D. Ill. Apr. 21, 2015)

6.Has a compliance mechanism for damages of $1,000 for each negligent violation, and $5,000 for intentional or reckless violations