Differences Between PII and Biometric Data

Biometric Data

Employees in Illinois have a right to personal data protection from their employers. However, due to the ease of data sharing in the modern world, one can have a good reason to suspect the neglect of their personal information, which can put them at risk of it being misused or stolen.

Personally Identifiable Information (PII)

PII is a broad set of data points that someone can use to track down and identify an individual. Among other things, it can include a person's name, Social Security number, date of birth, home address and email address.

This type of personal information might be requested for:

  • Credit scores and active credit cards
  • Educational background and information
  • Medical data or history
  • Employment history

As important as it is to keep that information out of general circulation, there is something even more dangerous that can be obtained and used to access someone’s other private information, putting people at potential risk for large-scale violations by others.

Biometric Data

Biometric data is a subset of PII which specifically refers to an individual's unique physical or behavioral characteristics that can be used to identify them. This usually includes things like fingerprints, facial recognition data, iris scans, hand geometry and voice recognition information.

The Differences

Biometric data is much harder to change, or fake, than other types of PII. This makes it a more reliable and valuable form of identification, which is why it's often used in security systems and timekeeping software for businesses.

Additionally, biometric data can be collected without the individual’s full knowledge or express written consent, whereas most people know when other PII is being collected. This difference in awareness can make it difficult for people to understand how their biometric data is being used and shared, which raises a variety of privacy concerns. As such, Illinois has passed legislation to protect people from having their biometric privacy rights violated. It’s called the Biometric Information Privacy Act, known as BIPA.

What to do when your biometric data is required to be collected

A qualified employment attorney who is skilled in the intricacies of biometric privacy law can help you determine if your data was legally collected. This is a new and complicated area of law that USA Employment Lawyers has extensive experience in.

If you are interested in learning more about your rights under Illinois’ BIPA laws, contact us today.

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