Illinois Biometric Case Going to Federal Court

An United States Court House in New York City.-1

Illinois Biometric Information Act (BIPA) has undergone intense scrutiny since its passage in 2008. It is the only law that allows its citizens to sue over the collection of biometric data, such as fingerprints and dental records.[1] However, until recently, a federal suit has not been brought up.

In a ruling by the 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago, the judges ruled that personal rights, such as identification, biometric data and the like are “both concrete and particularized” and therefore could be heard in federal court, according to the ruling in Christine Bryant v. Compass Group USA Inc.” [2] In the case involved, the woman was part of call center that introduced Smart Marketing vending machine that required someone’s fingerprints to operate. She sued based on the belief that collecting her data without her consent constituted damages. Compass, tried to get the suit dismissed based their assertion that their violations did not do any harm to her.

The 7th Court disagreed, ruling unanimously, “The company’s failure to inform Ms. Bryant it was collecting her biometric information means she suffered “the kind of injury-in-fact that supports” standing under Article III of the Constitution, it said. “ It continued by saying by failing to obtain Ms. Bryant’s consent, Compass “inflicted the concrete injury BIPA intended to protect against, i.e. a consumer’s loss of the power and ability to make informed decisions about the collection, storage, and use of her biometric information,” said the ruling in reversing the lower court’s ruling and remanding the case for further proceedings.”[3]

Going forward, civil suits regarding personal privacy will see more interpretations of the law. In many cases the plaintiff may have to provide more defined terms of damages. Litigation from these cases could pave the way to multiple different laws across the country.





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