Civil Rights Groups Fight to Keep Illinois' Biometric Privacy Law

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Jul 4, 2018
I'm completely on the side of the EFF and other groups on this (being transparent, I'm an EFF member). First, since court cases are all about setting and acknowledging precedent, this particular case must be found in favor of the adolescent or future cases may not bode well for the future of personal privacy. Second, there is a litmus test here that would easily sway public opinion if by some chance they weren't sure Six Flags was in the wrong. It goes like this: Can you unlock your phone with your fingerprint? If you answered yes, then did you set that up in the expectation only you can then open your phone? If you answered yes to that, how would you feel if I told you that someone with a bio-metric record of your fingerprint could ALSO open your phone - without asking you for permission to do so? On top of that, what if you signed a waiver to that information that would cause you to lose in court if someone had that fingerprint, but had your written permission to have it, and use it? Now, if you read the fine print on agreements you are presented with when engaging in a bio-metric handover, they are probably not so vague as to suggest they are not liable if someone then uses that information to hack your phone. But by even suggesting a company CAN be in the right in obtaining such data in this way (as Six Flags did), you are now opening the door to a flood of vague and dangerously fluid end-user agreements that could clear large companies of liability in the event your phone (or worse) get hacked with your fingerprint. Please pay attention to this case. Let's not start setting precedent for the devaluing of our most valuable security assets.
Anyway, back on topic (again for a SECOND time), I had another thought: I wonder what Illinois' state law says about mobile phone companies storing fingerprint readers for locking a smart phone. Law enforcement can, at least in my state, subpoena said smart phone and access to it by all means necessary including forcing the subpoenaed individual to unlock it with his/her finger. It is no different than confiscating laptops and computers for an investigation and accessing their hard drives for data retrieval. All it takes is for a judge to sign the subpoena. If you do not comply, you can face prison for obstruction of justice. Finally, I can see this going to the Supreme Court if the state of Illinois attempts to block a federal investigation.
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