Landmark biometric data case sparks debate in Illinois Supreme Court

llinois state Supreme Court hears arguments in a biometric data case. Nurses Mosby and Mazya allege privacy violations, sparking a crucial debate about the use of biometrics in healthcare.

 Spiral, Coil

The Illinois Supreme Court recently conducted hearings in a legal dispute involving biometric data, featuring two suburban nurses named Lucille Mosby and Yana Mazya as plaintiffs. They allege that their employers, including Northwestern Medicine and UChicago Medicine, violated the Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) of the state. The alleged violation pertains to the mandatory use of fingerprint scanners to access medicine cabinets without obtaining appropriate consent and making necessary disclosures. The central issue in this case revolves around whether the use of biometric data for healthcare purposes can be considered exempt from BIPA, as argued by the defendants.

This lawsuit has gained substantial attention due to its potential impact across the healthcare industry, where biometric technology is widely employed. In a prior ruling, a lower court favoured the nurses, emphasizing that BIPA did not exclude healthcare workers’ biometric data from its protective provisions.

Why does this matter?

The case’s resolution could impact biometric data privacy, legal standards, industry practices, and future privacy legislation in Illinois and beyond. The final judgement from the court, which is still pending, may carry significant consequences for biometric data privacy in Illinois. Simultaneously, legislators are contemplating broader privacy regulations, including an ‘age-appropriate design code’ intended to safeguard minors online, with the possibility of imposing civil penalties for privacy breaches.