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Illinois state lawmakers consider biometric data privacy law overhaul


biometric facial recognition

A proposal to reform Illinois’ regulation of private sector biometrics use is being considered by a State Senate Judiciary subcommittee, local outlet KPVI reports.

Senate Bill 300, proposed by Senator Jason Barickman (R), would give organizations accused of violations under the state’s Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) 30 days to take corrective action. It also changes the definition of biometric information to exclude any data which cannot be used to recreate the “original biometric identifier,” meaning templates would not be considered biometric data.

Illinois Chamber of Commerce VP of Government Affairs Clark Kaericher said companies should be encouraged to store biometrics in encrypted form, which cannot be reverse-engineered.

Fears about the imminent possibility of quantum computers being able to break the encryption used in biometric templates have already begun to prompt action within the industry.

An ACLU representative says BIPA has been functioning exactly as intended, though KPVI notes that some businesses have deactivated features for the Illinois residents, providing the example of Nest security cameras that can recognize a resident and unlock the door throughout the rest of the U.S.

Attorney Melissa Siebert of Shook, Hardy and Bacon says more than 1,000 BIPA cases have been filed in federal court since mid-2017, mostly involving Illinois-based employers.

This is far from the first attempt to reform BIPA, with an attempt to remove the right of private action from the bill in 2019 falling flat.

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