CHICAGO (CBS) – Right now, you and thousands of others in Illinois can expect a check from Google thanks to a $ 100 million class action lawsuit.

This is not the first lawsuit of its kind, and as CBS 2 investigator Megan Hickey reports, certainly not the last, thanks to a special law in Illinois.

This is the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act. It is not that companies cannot use the technology that collects this type of information. The point is, they have to tell you about it.

Biometric data makes our fast-paced world even faster. Buying a cup of coffee with a fingerprint. Scanning the eye instead of the passport. It sounds easy, but there’s a catch.

“This kind of personal information, when someone has it, has it. There is nothing you can do to get them back. “

Ed Yohnka of the Illinois ACLU tells us that this was the idea behind the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act that passed in 2008.

Basically, it says you can collect iris scans, fingerprints, voice prints, facial geometry scans, but you’ll need to get written permission to do so. Since enacting the law, Facebook has been charged a $ 650 million settlement for “face templates.”

TikTok received a $ 93 million direct debit for facial recognition software. Snapchat had to pay $ 35 million to Illinois residents for their “lenses” and “filters.”

And just this week, a Cook County judge ordered Google to pay $ 100 million for a “face clustering tool,” and 14 years later, Illinois companies are still breaking the law.

Lawmakers have so far unsuccessfully tried to repeal the law. Many believe that it is so too rigorous.
And it’s true, Illinois biometric protection is the tightest in the country.

Yohnka warns that some companies may not be aware that their data collection violates Illinois law. So how do companies protect themselves from a possible legal battle?

There are three things to keep in mind:

“If a company intends to collect this information, it must tell you it will collect it, it must tell you how it intends to use it, and it must obtain written consent from you,” Yohnka said.

The state of Maine recently came very close to passing a law that would reflect the state of Illinois, ”but it hasn’t. Illinois is the only state in the country to have such biometric privacy laws.

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