Fingerprints, voice recognition, retina scans and facial imaging are all examples of personal, private and proprietary biometric data. Your biometric data is a snapshot of you and contains a wealth of sensitive information.  And it belongs to you.  These metrics are increasingly used in today’s fast-paced society to make things such as clocking in and out of work, unlocking your phone and your transactions easier and faster.  But what happens when you put your trust in an employer, other company or a device and there’s a security failure or worse, the company decides to profit from your data? Unfortunately, it is at this point that your private information may be exposed.

The Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act

Thankfully, Illinois has laws in place that help protect your data if data breaches occur. The Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) was established in October of 2008. It was the first law of its kind and as of now, only Texas and Washington have similar laws established. Technically speaking, BIPA regulates the collection, storage, use and destruction of biometric data. It requires people, employers, companies, or organizations that collect biometric data to handle it with “the reasonable standard of care” within the given industry. Best practices usually include encryption and access restrictions.

BIPA requires that if your information is being collected or stored, you will be notified in writing, and you will also be notified why and for how long it will be used.

Measures You Can Take

Don’t assume that anyone you provide biometric data to will properly safeguard it.  Biometric data is becoming increasingly susceptible to theft, misappropriation and misuse.  Know that there is an inherent risk when you are asked or required to provide biometric data.  Know your legal rights and seek legal help and advice.

How We Can Help

Never forget that your data is exactly that: yours. If anyone has asked you to provide your biometric data, know your rights. Stephan Zouras, LLP has cutting-edge experience advocating for the protection of biometric data of employees and consumers.