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Naperville
Monday, February 26, 2024

Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) Reforms

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Many of us may not know what a very HOT acronym and topic in the General Assembly is – BIPA. BIPA stands for the Biometric Information Privacy Act and you should understand how detrimental this well-intentioned law has become for business. The Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce has spent time this legislative session reaching out to members of our General Assembly asking what is happening to ensure some much needed and meaningful BIPA reforms are being discussed.

The NACC has consistently requested commonsense reforms to BIPA – what is now one of the toughest laws in the nation. In 2008, the Illinois General Assembly passed one of the very first laws in the nation that addressed how businesses collect biometric data. At that time, a set of rules was set in motion that we would later come to find would have a detrimental effect on businesses.

These laws were:

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  • Informed consent prior to data collection
  • A business cannot profit from biometric data
  • Provided a private right of action for individuals harmed by violations
  • Provided statutory damages – up to $1000 for each violation and $5000 for each intentional or reckless violation

The “rules” at face value seemed relatively innocuous; however, over the years, we have found that they open businesses up to damages every time an individual’s biometric information is scanned or transmitted, which opens businesses up to liabilities totaling in the millions or even billions of dollars.

Damages must be recouped somehow, and often trickles to the consumer…the very group of folks the General Assembly set to protect. In the process, it is destroying businesses and ultimately jobs.

A coalition of business groups from around the state have worked together to ask that commonsense reforms be considered. As of this date, the Illinois General Assembly has refused to take on the issue in a meaningful way. The Senate introduced a measure that would address some of the concerns of business groups, but then added language doubling the fines.

The Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce will continue our work to advocate for business forward policies, but we anticipate the issue will likely need to be revisited in the fall veto session.

Please reach out to me as Director of Government Affairs via bgoncher@naperville.net for more information on BIPA.

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Beth Goncher
Beth Goncherhttp://naperville.net
Beth Goncher wrote this column for Naperville Chamber of Commerce Director of Government Affairs. She can be reached at bethgoncher@gmail.com or (630) 777-1577.

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