New legislation to address issues with the Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) was introduced in the Illinois Senate on January 31.
The bill, SB 2979, includes reforms to the current statute. Most notably, it provides that if biometric information is wrongly obtained or disseminated more than once, each separate transaction will no longer be counted as a separate violation if it involves the same individuals, using the same methods, and collecting or disseminating the same biometric identifiers.
Thus a business that inadvertently violates BIPA standards by improperly recording an employee’s fingerprint every day when he or she clocks into work without an authorized written release, would only be subject to one violation of the act, rather than a separate violation for each time the employee scanned his or her fingerprint.
The current wording of the statute, by allowing for penalties for each individual action, has allowed litigants to exact massive penalties from the business community.
The legislation also provides for electronic signatures on written employee releases that authorize employers to collect and store specified biometric information for workplace reasons.
The legislation was introduced by Senator Bill Cunningham.