Watchdog Groups Believe Illinois' Biometric Privacy Law Is In Jeopardy

Andy Dahn
April 10, 2018 - 8:33 am

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- State watchdog groups said a unique state law that requires companies to obtain consumer consent before collecting certain data is in jeopardy.

Illinois' biometric privacy law (BIPA) covers facial recognition patterns, thumb prints and iris scans. But for the second time in three years, there's a push for change.

"It would effectively renders that law meaningless," said Abe Scarr, Director of the Illinois Public Interest Research Group. "There would be no consent needed to do this type of mass surveillance, basically."

Illinois PIRG is one of several organizations fighting back.

"We think one of the most important things to do is to maintain the strongest privacy law in the county that we have here in Illinois. No one should be trying to undermine that law."

Scarr said tech giants like Facebook and Google are likely behind the proposal, being discussed this week by the Illinois House and Senate.

"I can't say for certain that Facebook is behind this latest attempt," Scarr said. "But we believe that big tech companies in general do have an interest in weakening the law."