Time for Lawmakers’ Return to Springfield, Fix Flawed Biometric Information Privacy Act

TMA briefs members on growing ramifications inaction could have on businesses

SCHAUMBURG, IL – The Technology & Manufacturing Association (TMA) is calling on the Illinois General Assembly to return to session as soon as possible to clarify the state’s flawed Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) that threatens business operations and jobs in our state.


More than 30 small and midsized manufacturers joined an online briefing recently where Illinois Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse Executive Director Phil Melin explained how the BIPA threat grows daily with inaction. Delaying a response to the Illinois Supreme Court’s request for the 2008 law’s clarification is raising serious concerns within the business community as more and more companies are finding themselves being hit with exorbitant legal fees.


“While millions of dollars in Facebook and Instagram settlements grab headlines, the reality is small businesses are also often targeted by class action lawsuits through BIPA,” explained Melin. “In fact, nearly 1,000 businesses in Cook and the collar counties, including some TMA members, currently face BIPA lawsuits.”


The law grabbed headlines earlier this year when the Illinois Supreme Court issued an opinion on a BIPA case against White Castle that left the restaurant chain facing potential penalties of $17 billion for BIPA infractions. Illinois lawmakers did introduce legislation in the closing days of the 2023 spring session to clarify BIPA, but negotiations ended without clarification. 


While TMA and their members see the need to protect Illinoisans’ privacy, we also want to see Illinois enact a fair biometrics data privacy policy that allows businesses to stay up to date in technology so they won’t be put in potential business-ending situations,” said TMA’s Executive Vice President Dennis LaComb. “With the surge of BIPA lawsuits, our members are rightly concerned about what this could mean for them and other businesses. Serious questions remain unanswered about how the BIPA law could be fixed, which is why TMA is urging lawmakers to reconvene to address the situation for Illinois businesses now.”


With each passing day, the unanswered questions give BIPA plaintiffs and their legal counsel the upper hand to settle outside of court with small businesses for higher settlements. 


“Those small and midsized business owners, their employees, and their families are waiting for Illinois lawmakers to step up and clarify the BIPA law before Illinois’ struggling businesses close their doors and move away from the continuing anxiety and threat building a company in Illinois can bring,” said LaComb. “It’s time to do something about this stressful situation – for the sake of all our TMA members, Illinois businesses, and our state’s hard-working citizens.”


About TMA: Founded in 1925, the Technology and Manufacturing Association is an independent trade organization exclusively focused on assisting small and midsize manufacturers by providing a diverse portfolio of benefits and services, including: community, information, training, resources, and advocacy. TMA has nearly 1,000 members representing over 35,000 manufacturing employees and more than 25 million square feet of manufacturing plant.