At the end of August 2023, the Security Industry Association (SIA) filed an amicus curie (“friend of the court”) brief in support of a U.S. District Court ruling that rejects an incorrect interpretation of requirements under the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) of 2008 in a case under consideration by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. While the plaintiff’s claims in Zellmer v. Meta Platforms involve a discontinued Facebook feature called Tag Suggestions, if upheld they would have much wider implications. Implementing BIPA-compliant security-related applications of biometric technologies, already difficult in Illinois, could become impossible. Particularly impacted would be access control systems, which must distinguish between authorized users that are enrolled versus non-users.
SIA supports common-sense protections for biometric data and the responsible, ethical implementation of biometric technologies, but for years BIPA has affected consumers in ways that were never intended, enriching trial lawyers instead of protecting consumer interests, and making many beneficial technologies unavailable due to litigation risk. Though falling just short of enactment, key reforms to BIPA received considerable bipartisan support in the Illinois legislature in 2023. In the meantime, the U.S. District Court’s dismissal of Zellmer must be upheld to prevent negative impacts stemming from BIPA from getting even worse. Read SIA’s brief here. A determination from the Ninth Circuit is expected in 2024.