Retinal scans. Fingerprints. Voiceprints. Facial recognition – Welcome to the world of biometric identifiers.
Rapid improvements to technology have affected people and businesses in Illinois and around the world. While we all happily say goodbye to super-slow dial-up internet connections, you may have some hesitations about the ramifications of other technological advances, like those that allow computers to scan and recognize your face, fingerprints – and even your voiceprint. These personally specific identifiers are collectively known as your biometric data.
Why Should You Care If Someone Scans Your Fingerprint?
Biometric data is different from other personal information because unlike a credit card number, it is unique to you and cannot be easily changed. Therefore, there is a potentially greater risk to you if someone improperly stores or misuses that information.
Biometric data is often implemented to help businesses feel more secure. After all, if you login to your company’s software with a facial or fingerprint scan, the company can verify that it is you who is accessing their confidential information. But what guarantee do you have that you are also protected from privacy breaches and outside cyber threats? Employment law attorneys who represent employees have raised questions about how companies may be collecting, storing, and using this type of personal information.
Are There Legal Protections in Place That Can Help?
Due to the potential misuse of personal data, some states have stepped in to ensure the protection of their residents’ privacy. In Illinois, the Biometric Information Privacy Act has formed the basis of numerous class action lawsuits brought against companies by their workers. Thousands of employees have collected financial settlements as a result of improper procedures or the lack of procedures in place by their employers.
Under IBIPA, an employer cannot collect, use, store or disseminate your biometric data without your expressed written consent. In order to obtain or begin to use biometric data for any reason, the employer must explain in writing what it will be used for, how it will be stored, how long it will be kept and how it will be destroyed. The law provides for statutory damages to be awarded to successful plaintiffs.
Do You Need to Take Legal Action?
USA Employment Lawyers can help you and your co-workers file a class action biometric privacy lawsuit. Our Illinois employment attorneys know that your privacy rights are of the utmost importance. We are prepared to file a legal claim on behalf of you and your similarly situated co-workers if biometric data has been collected by your employer without prior written consent or not handled within the guidelines of the law. These lawsuits are usually filed on a contingency basis without upfront charges to the plaintiffs.