Shook Partner Testifies on BIPA Bill Before Illinois Lawmakers

Shook Partner Melissa Siebert spoke before Illinois lawmakers in favor of a bill that would assist Illinois employers hard hit by a surge in lawsuits under the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA).

On April 12, members of the Senate Judiciary’s Subcommittee on Privacy heard arguments on Senate Bill 300. The measure would allow businesses 30 days to correct a potential issue before an individual could file a lawsuit against the company and provide extra protection to businesses that store biometric information in the form of algorithms, as reported by the Washington Examiner. A representative from the Illinois Chamber of Commerce noted “if accessed by a hacker, those groups of numbers are meaningless.”

Siebert, who leads Shook’s biometric privacy team, testified at the invitation of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce on the increasing number of lawsuits filed against businesses and the negative impact they are having on businesses and technological innovation. 

“There have been more than 1,000 BIPA actions filed in federal court since mid-2017,” said Siebert, before lawmakers. “In the last six months alone, there have been 239 new BIPA class actions filed.” Siebert noted that none of these lawsuits allege an actual data breach or any misuse of data.  

Siebert oversees a team of more than 20 legal professionals organized into five sub-teams, each dedicated to various aspects of biometric privacy litigation. She and the Shook team have achieved a number of groundbreaking BIPA decisions reported by Law360 among other publications. Shook is recognized as a leader in this area, and according to court records has defended more class action lawsuits under BIPA than any other law firm in the country.