The Seventh Circuit has recently ruled that plaintiffs have standing to enforce the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act’s informed consent requirements in federal court. As we have written before, , BIPA regulates the collection, use, and retention of a person’s biometric information, e.g., fingerprints, face scans, etc. For years, federal trial courts have been split on whether a violation of BIPA’s informed consent provision is alone sufficient to confer Article III standing. . The decision in Bryant v. Compass Group USA, Inc., — F.3d —-, 2020 WL 2121463 (7th Cir. May 5, 2020) removes that uncertainty and will drastically change the landscape of BIPA litigation going forward.
Continue Reading Seventh Circuit Issues Landmark BIPA Decision

A lawsuit against US Cold Storage under the Biometric Information Privacy Act was recently dismissed because, the court held, the violations of the law were merely technical. As a result, the plaintiff did not have sufficient standing. This decision echoes the other cases we have reported on recently.
Continue Reading No Federal Court Standing for BIPA Violation Without Injury

French data protection authority CNIL has issued a fine against company Assistance Centre d’Appel related to the use of biometric technology in the workplace. During an audit at the end of 2016, CNIL found that the company was using fingerprint timeclocks to track employee hours without prior authorization from CNIL as required by the French Data Protection Act. In France, an employer may not use biometric data to monitor employees’ hours absent prior approval from CNIL, which is only granted in exceptional circumstances. During the 2016 audit, CNIL also found that the company was recording employee phone calls without informing the employees or other call participants, and lacked adequate workstation security. While the company has since ceased the use of fingerprint timeclocks, a 2018 audit by CNIL revealed that the company had failed to properly inform telephone call participants about call recording, and that workstations remained insecure. The fine was set at € 10,000, which was based upon the partial compliance of the company and its finances. The company only employs fourteen workers. In publishing its decision, CNIL stated that it sought to remind employees of their rights and employers of their obligations, particularly with respect to biometrics in the workplace. CNIL also intended to remind companies of the consequences for failing to respond to and comply with CNIL notices of default.
Continue Reading France Imposes Fine for Unauthorized Use of Fingerprint Timeclocks

Last month a federal district court dismissed a putative class action lawsuit against United Airlines challenging its use of fingerprint scanning timeclocks. The lawsuit brought by United employee David Johnson alleged that the company’s collection and use of employees’ fingerprints violated the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) because the company failed to get the requisite consent from its employees for fingerprint collection and use.
Continue Reading BIPA Claims Against United Airlines Must be Arbitrated Due to Collective Bargaining Agreement

In continuing our series on biometrics, we conclude with an analysis of protection requirements and risks. Illinois, Texas, and Washington—the three states which have thus far implemented specific biometric privacy laws—each require companies to reasonably protect biometric data in their possession. Illinois and Texas have further specified that the data must be protected to the same degree as other confidential and secret information. All three states require that the data be destroyed within a fixed amount of time.
Continue Reading Biometric Breakdown Part IV – Protecting

We’ve looked in our series to what companies should do when collecting biometric information, and now we turn to issues around sharing biometric information. The three states which have thus far enacted specific biometric privacy legislation—Illinois, Texas, and Washington—each place restrictions upon the sharing of biometric information. Illinois has imposed a blanket prohibition upon the sale of biometric information. The information may be shared if needed to complete a financial transaction authorized by the individual, if required by law, or, if the individual provides consent, for any other purpose.
Continue Reading Biometric Breakdown Part III – Sharing

Continuing our series, we look today at what a company should think about when collecting biometric data. Three U.S. states—Illinois, Texas, and Washington—have laws on-point. The Illinois statute is the most specific requiring written notice disclosing the purpose of collection and the length of time biometric information will be stored. It also requires companies to obtain each individual’s written consent. Texas requires companies to inform individuals of collection and obtain consent, but neither must be written. In Washington, companies may either give notice, obtain consent, or “prevent the subsequent use of a biometric identifier for a commercial purpose.” Companies in compliance with the Illinois law would also satisfy the other states’ less specific requirements.
Continue Reading Biometric Breakdown Part II – Collection