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Biometric Fingerprint Lawsuit Illinois

Illinois Biometric Privacy Violation Lawsuit AttorneyAs technology progresses, biometric data, such as an individual's face, fingerprints, and voice, becomes increasingly valuable outside law enforcement. But privacy matters too, and the state of Illinois put some teeth behind that belief in 2008.

The Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act requires businesses and organizations to get written consent before collecting any biometric data from their employees and customers.

More importantly, it is one of the few laws that permits ordinary people to enforce their rights through a biometric privacy lawsuit.

If a business has violated your privacy by collecting and sharing your biometric data without your consent, our biometric privacy violations attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers can help. Speak to an experienced attorney online or call our toll-free number at (888) 424-5757 for more information about your rights in class actions and lawsuit options.

Recent Biometric Privacy Class Action Lawsuits and Class Action Settlements In Chicago And Illinois Supreme Court

As the use of biometric data has increased, so has the number of violations of the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act. Cases with class members and individuals brought, settled, or tried to a verdict in recent years include:

  • Facebook: In January 2020, Facebook had a $550 million settlement in their facial recognition class action lawsuit. The plaintiffs of the case were all Illinois residents and argued that Facebook Illinois law has Tag Suggestions features on its social network.
    A biometric privacy attorney for the plaintiffs told the New York Times that users should be able to have anonymous discussions of controversial social issues if they choose.
  • WeWork: A class-action lawsuit filed in November of 2019 brought allegations that shared office space business WeWork collects facial scans without consent violating Illinois law.
    Jumio, whose product WeWork used and who also violated BIPA, had a $7 million settlement with plaintiffs in their BIPA lawsuit.
  • Google: In late September of 2019, a group of Illinois residents filed a proposed class-action lawsuit in Chicago, arguing that Google Photos violated the Illinois Biometric Privacy Act by "actively collecting, storing, and using" facial information without the required disclosures or informed consent.
    A settlement agreement was reached with class action members earlier in the year. The class action lawsuit final approval hearing for the plaintiffs was slated for September 28.
  • Vimeo: In late September 2019, video-sharing corporation Vimeo was sued in a class action for collecting and storing facial recognition data through Magisto service.
    Users upload videos and photos to Magisto, which the proposed class action lawsuit argues extracts face recognition information without consent or disclosure.
  • ThyssenKrupp: A former employee at a Danville, Illinois factory sued the employer, Thyssenkrupp Crankshaft, in September 2019.
    They failed to get her informed consent to use her fingerprints as a substitute for a time card in fingerprint scanning timekeeping systems. Brenda Wickens alleges the corporation never informed her about the purpose of storing employee fingerprints.
    According to the attorney for Wickens and Bloomberg Law, these are common Illinois BIPA lawsuits.

Consent For Using Identifiers

Biometric information is any information based on those identifiers and used to identify an individual, regardless of how it's collected. Private businesses and Illinois employers may not obtain information or identifiers from biometrics unless the users:

  • Inform the subject (or a representative like a parent) in writing that they're doing it
  • Explain the purpose and length of time they will retain it
  • Receive written consent or release of the biometric information from the subject or representative
  • Create a written, publicly available policy on maintaining and destroying the information

Protecting Biometric Info

They may not sell or otherwise profit from the information and release it without the subject's written consent unless the disclosure is authorized by law.

Businesses must protect biometric information from disclosure in a way that is at least as strict as the business's protection of other confidential and sensitive information.

Most importantly, the Illinois Biometric Privacy Act is enforceable, providing the right to sue any business that violates the Act. Under an Illinois Supreme Court ruling, Illinois residents do not have to show violations of the Act harmed them; merely violating it is an adequate basis for a lawsuit.

Illinois Biometric Privacy Violation Lawsuit FAQs

Our personal injury lawyers specialize in cases involving biometric technology and the need to keep information about biometrics private. Contact us for additional information on the need for informed consent and collecting employee fingerprints based on Illinois biometric privacy law.

How Do Companies Use Biometric Data Information?

Biometric data also has many applications in the workplace, starting with computer security. For workplaces requiring building security, biometric data like facial recognition technology or fingerprints can also control access to sensitive areas.

Employers can use biometric data to keep close track of employees' work time and breaks, as is legally required for some employees. Employers that offer health and wellness plans may request biometric data to measure the results of health changes and reward employees as necessary.

What Is the Problem with Biometric Privacy?

Biometric data is highly personal as it is derived from a person's body. Not every American is comfortable sharing information about their weight, age, or other biological data irrelevant to their work or the digital transaction they choose to undertake.

Such information can be the basis of prejudice against employees that can lead to unlawful workplace harassment or other negative consequences.

Employees willing to share their biometric data to access a limited area at work may feel vulnerable, leaving their biometric info stored and accessible on the corporation's server.

Storing such sensitive information contains an elevated risk for hacking, especially as biometric identification is considered so secure that it may not be backed up with other secondary passwords or security measures.

Why Does Unchangeable Biometric Data Remain An Issue?

Another potential problem with biometric information privacy is that one can't change one's fingerprints, voice, retinas, or facial geometry. A definite benefit for security purposes, but if that data is compromised, it cannot be changed, and there is no control over how the information is utilized. Since biometric data is considered trustworthy, hacking is difficult to prove to authorities.

Finally, biometric data includes information about you that is visible even to a casual observer, such as your face and hands. As technology advances, biometric data collection may become even more accessible, gained merely from cameras placed in public places.

Law enforcement and artificial intelligence researchers will be able to identify faces in a crowd with the correct biometric info. Individuals will not be allowed to give their written consent, and personal privacy could become obsolete.

What Does the Illinois BIPA Require?

Fortunately, since 2008, the privacy rights of Illinois residents have been protected by the Illinois Biometric Privacy Act (BIPA), which provides a powerful remedy for violations.

BIPA requires businesses and organizations to get consumers' permission before collecting their information and allows ordinary people to sue them if the company fails to request consent.

The Act defines "biometric identifiers" as:

  • Retina or iris scans
  • Fingerprints
  • Voiceprints
  • Scans of hand geometry
  • Scans of facial geometry

What Can I Recover in An Illinois Biometric Privacy Lawsuit?

You can recover a substantial settlement if you sue a company for mishandling your private biometric information under the Illinois Biometric Privacy Act.

The Act allows you to claim either pay for the actual injuries caused to you or a specified amount of money.

The specified amount depends on the company's behavior:

  • For a private entity that violates the law through carelessness, $1,000 per violation or actual damages, whichever is greater
  • For a private entity that intentionally violates the law, $5,000 per violation or actual damages, whichever is greater

Since these amounts are per violation, they may add up. For example, if a company sells fingerprints and face recognition data, it has intentionally violated the law twice. The company failed in its obligation to protect this data about biometrics and would have to pay $10,000 if proven in court.

Other Claimable Costs

Plaintiffs can also file claims for reasonable court costs and attorneys' fees. The defendant pays the plaintiff's lawyer's fees if the claim is awarded. A necessary provision that allows a lawsuit to become financially accessible to every individual and levels the playing field between ordinary people and large corporations.

Finally, the law permits you to sue for non-monetary relief, such as a court order forbidding any profitable group from violating your biometric privacy again.

Contact An Illinois Biometric Privacy Violation Attorney Today

Contact Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC today to discuss your rights and legal options if you believe a company has collected your personal biometric information without your consent.

You can call us at (888) 424-5757 or contact us online. We are committed to holding companies fully accountable when they violate your legal right to privacy.

Contingency Fee Agreement

We accept claims with no upfront fee, working on a contingency fee agreement where we only get paid once settlements are received.

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