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BIPA anniversary marked with proposals for improvement, close examination

BIPA anniversary marked with proposals for improvement, close examination

Fifteen years after its passage, the U.S. state of Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act only looks more threatening to non-governmental organizations using biometric scans in the state.

Analysis of BIPA’s impact in the trade publication Law360 notes what so many have said before. The courts have largely defined BIPA as a big stick to be used on businesses who are not careful enough with people’s biometric data.

The liability law requires non-governmental organizations to get consent before collecting a person’s biometric data and disclose how collected data is protected and managed. It has influenced related legislation in other states.

The only realistic hope defendants and would-be defendants have is for an overhaul of the 2008 law. As pointed out in the Law360 article, a simple safe-harbor addition would make the law seem more equitable, assuming that not everyone held accountable under the law operates out of neglect or ill will. The provision would let organizations clean up their biometric practices.

That is a long shot for the near-future and could approach an impossibility if someone steals the fingerprint, face and iris scans of otherwise innocent people.

Chances are good that a United States representative invited to discuss biometric privacy this month with a group of Illinois business owners and executives will field some questions on a federal version or update of BIPA.

The half-day seminar has been scheduled for BIPA, which was all but ignored for half its existence. It has grown to a C-suite pressure point for companies around the globe doing digital or physical business in the Midwest state.

BIPAbuzz, a blog, is planning an October 6 discussion of the law and what it means to businesses on this anniversary.

Blogger Doug OGorden is largely restricting attendance to the Chicago event to Illinois staff, executives and businessowners involved with biometrics operations.

U.S. Congressman Bill Foster, who has been vocal in this area, will speak along with business groups and vendors.

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