Accurate, Focused Research on Law, Technology and Knowledge Discovery Since 2002

The Best Law You’ve Never Heard Of

The New York Times – Taking back control of our personal data can feel like a lost cause. But there’s hope! “Americans should feel angry about companies harvesting every morsel of our data to sell us sneakers or rate our creditworthiness. But a data protection law that few of us know about should also give us hope. I’m talking about the Biometric Information Privacy Act of Illinois, or BIPA. It’s one of the toughest privacy laws in the United States. And it passed in 2008, when most of us didn’t have smartphones and couldn’t have imagined Alexa in our kitchens. It applies only to Illinois residents and limits no more than what companies do with data from our bodies, like face scans and fingerprints. But its principles and legacy show that effective laws can wrest a measure of control from information-hogging companies. BIPA may also show that states can be America’s best laboratory for tackling the downsides of digital life. The law’s pedestrian origin belies how consequential it came to be. In 2007, a company that let customers pay in stores with their fingerprints went bust, and it discussed selling the fingerprint database. People who thought that was creepy wanted to stop such activities Few outsiders paid attention to negotiations over BIPA, and this may have been the secret to its success. Now, tech companies unleash armies to deflect or shape proposed regulations. The law’s text is simple but profound, Adam Schwartz, a senior staff attorney with Electronic Frontier Foundation, told me…”

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.