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Illinois Biometric Law Carries Implications Elsewhere

July 8, 2016 | David P. MilianArticles

US District Judge James Donato's decision that Illinois' Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) is applicable to any firms doing business in Illinois, regardless of where they are headquartered, has sent "shockwaves" throughout the tech industry, according to a recent article in Forbes.

The article refers to Judge Donato's ruling in May that, in cases involving different statutes in different states, judges must defer to the statute whose subversion by the other would cause the greatest detriment. "Illinois will suffer a complete negation of its biometric privacy protections for its citizens if California law is applied. In contrast, California law and policy will suffer little, if anything at all, if BIPA is applied," he wrote in the ruling.

The decision was in response to Facebook's argument that the California-based company could not be tried under Illinois state laws. 

The precedent set by Judge Donato carries vast implications for Silicon Valley tech giants, many of which have relied on an absence of biometric privacy legislation in California to collect users' biometric identifiers without express consent.

Carey Rodriguez Milian Gonya, LLP has spearheaded efforts to protect consumer privacy at a time of rapid development in biometric technology. The firm will continue to use BIPA as a means to ensure accountability in the tech industry, not to stymie biometric technology, but to guarantee that it is used responsibly, considering the uniquely sensitive nature of biometric information.

Gautam Hans of the Center for Democracy and Technology in San Francisco explained the need for the utmost transparency when dealing with such personal and unmodifiable identifiers. 

"Oftentimes...you give your information to a company, and you don't know what happens to it," he says. "It needs to be clear to a consumer what is being collected, why it's being collected, who it's going to be shared with, and how long it will be stored, in part because of the indubitability of the information." 

The full article is available on Forbes here.