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BIPA keeping courtrooms and lobbyists busy

BIPA keeping courtrooms and lobbyists busy

A lobbying group widely considered a so-called Astroturf organization has posted its argument for ending the U.S. state of Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act’s threat to businesses.

Lawsuits alleging BIPA violations by businesses are harming companies more than they are helping consumers, it says.

The group is called Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse and it has offices across the nation challenging judicial review of a given issue. Despite the name, it is a business advocacy group that was first started to prevent suits against the tobacco industry.

CALA officials point to red-meat data points designed to rile on the hustings.

For instance, they say a small number of firms file the majority of class actions. Attorneys take home enormous salaries for winning big cases. Plaintiff payouts are small because they are distributed in classes. And many successful BIPA plaintiff firms aren’t located in Illinois.

None of that would happen, according to CALA, if BIPA could be neutered. That’s not true, but it is true that some businesses wouldn’t face very real, very large penalties for violating the law.

Not mentioned in CALA material is the also very real, very large penalties that individuals will suffer if their biometric data is misused or stolen.

All that said, here are some cases to watch as the year is closed out.

Apple, which so far as sidestepped most of the BIPA charges that have come its way, is in a Southern Illinois court defending against accusations that its Photos app violated BIPA. The case is at the early technical-jockeying phase.

Candid Color Systems, a school graduation photo service also is in Southern Illinois defending against BIPA claims, according to the Madison – St. Clair Record. Its attorney has asked for a dismissal because it’s a sole proprietor with no assets. It’s also a government subcontractor, which should give the owner immunity.

Two other Southern Illinois cases involve food kings McDonald’s and Kraft Heinz. In both cases, the companies allegedly required employees to use a biometric shift clock.

The company behind the dating app Bumble also finds itself accused of violating BIPA. The lead plaintiff says the app harvested and used his facial biometrics without telling him so.

In Chicago, landmark care giver Rush University Hospital is accused of requiring employees to register their fingerprints to access medication lockers.

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