BEWARE! THE ILLINOIS “BIOMETRIC INFORMATION PRIVACY ACT”

The Future is here as long as you agree to its Terms and Conditions and sign a Release. See the retina scan used by James T. Kirk and found on your smartphone. See https://youtu.be/6JDLrTmLo8M  &  https://youtu.be/pJjwfrN6hTs Also see the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act.

That statute states that  a “Biometric Identifier,” which may include a retina scan, an iris scan, fingerprint, voice print or scan of your hand or face geometry” in possession of a private entity, i.e., not the government, may not be collected, captured or purchased from a person unless that person is informed in writing that that identifier is being stored, is informed in writing of the specific purpose and length of time for which that identifier is being stored and used, and the person whose “Biometric Information” is being stored or collected provides to the collector a written release. In addition, that “Biometric Information” may not be sold, or leased and it may not be disclosed or disseminated unless the subject of that Information consents to that disclosure or that disclosure is required by law or is used in the completion of a financial transaction authorized by the subject of that Information.

In addition, the private entity in possession of that “Biometric identifier” must store, transmit and protect it from disclosure in a manner that is the same as or more protective than the manner in which it stores, transmits and protects other confidential and sensitive information. Further it must develop a written policy made available to the public establishing a retention schedule and guidelines for permanently destroying those identifiers when the initial purpose for collecting and obtaining them has been satisfied or within three years of the subject’s last interaction with the private entity, whichever occurs first.

Financial institutions are excluded from the terms of this Act. Persons aggrieved by a violation of this Act may seek damages of $1,000 for a negligent violation or $5,000 for a reckless violation or their actual damages, if greater.

This Act, which was enacted almost ten years ago, in October of 2008 (Perhaps our legislature could see the smartphone future.) has suddenly become relevant when Google recently came out with an app which matches user’s uploaded selfies with portraits or faces depicted in works of art. See the following example retrieved from http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-biz-google-art-selfies-20180116-story.html

Google app

 

Because the individual’s “face geometry” was required to utilize this app, it is not available for use in Illinois as is Nest’s doorbell feature incorporating a camera that can recognize a visitor.

By the way, Texas has a similar law. If you think this is an example of government intrusion, consider this. If your Social Security Number is stolen, you can change it. If your face or fingerprints are stolen, fixing that “identity theft” will be more difficult. See https://youtu.be/95VvTW1FvS8

About ERIC WACHSPRESS

The material on this website is for informational purposes only. It should not be considered legal advice and is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. If you have questions regarding any material presented herein, we recommend that you consult an attorney. This web site and information presented herein were designed in accordance with Illinois law. Any content in conflict with the laws or ethical code of attorney conduct of any other jurisdiction is unintentional and void. I am a Chicago attorney practicing in the areas of trademark, copyright and information technology law as well as general corporate law. Formerly a trademark examining attorney with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, I have been in private practice since 1987 representing clients in a wide variety of industries, including the consumer products, financial services, information technology and entertainment industries. You can contact me at markscounsel@gmail.com, by phone at 773.934.5855 or by mail at 417 S. Jefferson St., #304, Chicago, IL 60607 USA
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