Law.com's The Recorder talked to Shook Associate Patrick Castle about the surge of biometric privacy lawsuits for its article, "Google's 'Art Selfie' Move Highlights Escalating Legal Battle Over Biometrics." More than a decade after Illinois passed the Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) to protect consumer biometric data, the article says the legal battles that could define the scope and impact of the law are just beginning to reach the courts. The state law got considerable media attention after Google disabled the "art selfie" feature of its Arts & Culture app in Illinois and in Texas, which has a similar law.
In December 2017, an Illinois appellate court ruled for the defendants in a BIPA case, saying the law requires a plaintiff to prove "actual harm." Rosenbach v. Six Flags Entertainment, No. 17-317 (Ill. App. 2d). Castle told The Recorder that if the case stands and other courts follow the ruling, "it could turn the tide for defendants." Castle said, "Many plaintiffs will have a difficult time meeting that standard because most people who are suing under this haven't been injured in any meaningful way."
Castle advises clients in the retail, insurance and financial industries, among others, on a variety of business litigation issues, including privacy and data security, and is a member of Shook's Biometric Privacy Task Force.