Internet Law & Cyber-Security

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Widener University Commonwealth Law School

Juliet Moringiello

Executive Editor, Internet Law & Cyber-Security
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Partridge Snow & Hahn LLP

John Ottaviani

Contributing Editor, Internet Law & Cyber-Security
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Aronberg Goldgehn

Alan S. Wernick

Contributing Editor, Internet Law & Cyber-Security
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Illinois Legislature Passes Bill to Amend Biometric Information Privacy Act

By Alan S. Wernick, Esq., Aronberg Goldgehn

The Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (“BIPA”) became effective in 2008. Alleged violations under BIPA have resulted in numerous lawsuits and defendants’ (businesses’) liability for substantial damages.[1] On May 16, 2024, the Illinois State Legislature passed a bill, Senate Bill 2979,[2] to amend BIPA. Assuming Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signs it, the BIPA amendments will take effect immediately. SB 2979 would limit BIPA damages and provide for electronic consent.

The BIPA proposed amendments in SB 2979 include:

  • A private entity that collects or discloses a person’s biometric data without consent can only be found liable for one BIPA violation per person regardless of the number of times the private entity disclosed, redisclosed, or otherwise disseminated the same biometric identifier or biometric information of the same person to the same recipient. Proposed 740 ILCS 14/20(b) and (c) modify the 740 ILCS 14/20(a) text “A prevailing party may recover for each violation....” interpreted by the courts as a “per scan” damages calculation.[3]
  • Written consent for collection of biometric information will now include electronic signatures. 740 ILCS 14/10 (Definitions) as amended added a new definition: “electronic signature” and included it as part of a “written release.” This amendment highlights businesses’ need to review their contracts with vendors providing biometric devices. The review should include clarity of functional specifications, plus vendor warranties and indemnifications concerning the biometric device’s abilities to capture, record, and preserve electronic signatures.

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