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The Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) Amended to Include Biometric Data

18 Jun

Update Applicable to:Effective date
All employers regardless of size and sectorImmediately

What happened?

On May 16, 2024, SB 2979 was enacted by the Illinois Legislature. This enactment amended the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA), to limit damages available to aggrieved parties and expand how organizations can obtain consent under the law.

What are the details?

SB 2979 amends BIPA’s “per scan” violation framework, as established by the Illinois Supreme Court in Cothron v. White Castle System, Inc. This change responds to calls from the Illinois Legislature and the Illinois Chamber of Commerce for BIPA reform to protect businesses from excessive financial liabilities following the Cothron case.

Key Bites

  • Limitation of Damages: The amendment limits potential liability for employers by stating that repeated collection or disclosure of a person’s biometric data constitutes a single violation. This means aggrieved employees (or any person) can only recover damages for one violation.
  • Consent Mechanism: The bill provides entities with more flexibility in how they obtain consent from people for the collection, storage, and use of biometric data, including through an electronic signature.
  • Reduced Litigation Risk: By clarifying the terms of the BIPA, the bill may help reduce the risk of litigation for employers. Employers who comply with the clarified terms of the BIPA are less likely to face lawsuits from employees and customers.
  • Increased Compliance Requirements: The bill underscores the importance of compliance with the BIPA, ensuring they have proper consent mechanisms in place and that they are not necessarily collecting or disclosing biometric data.

For a short breakdown of what is BIPA.

Business Considerations

  • Employers should review their policies and practices related to biometric data to ensure they are in line with the amended law.
  • Employers should establish clear consent mechanisms, including the use of digital consent forms due to the new law allowing electronic signatures.
  • Employers should limit data collection, only collecting biometric data when necessary and avoiding repeated collection to minimize potential violations (also known as data minimization best practice).
  • Employers should communicate clearly with employees, informing them about their rights and obligations under the amended BIPA, the changes and their implications, and the measures taken to protect their biometric data.

Source References


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