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Illinois Supreme Court rules Six Flags can't collect thumbprint data without consent

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The Illinois Supreme Court has ruled that Six Flags cannot collect biometric data from individuals without consent.

RELATED: Illinois Supreme Court one step closer to ruling on biometric privacy case

The unanimous ruling, stems from a 2014 case where Stacy Rosenbach alleged Six Flags collected her son's fingerprint without her knowledge or consent after she bought him a season pass online.

Her attorney, Philip Bock, said that was illegal. While an appellate court ruled the fingerprint collection didn't cause direct injury or a negative effect, Rosenbach and her attorney argued the Supreme Court should side with them.

The Illinois Supreme Court did side with Rosenbach on Friday.

According to the ACLU, the 2008 Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) allows individuals to control their own biometric data –fingerprints, iris scans, facial scans, and other unique biological information that can be used for identification. The law prohibits private companies from collecting a person’s biometric information unless they first inform the person of the data to be collected and how it will be stored, used, and shared. They must then obtain the person’s written consent.

In response to Friday’s ruling, Senior Staff Counsel Rebecca Glenberg of the ACLU of Illinois issued the following statement:

“Today’s ruling protects Illinoisans’ right to control their own fingerprints, iris scans, and other crucial information about their bodies. This is exactly what the General Assembly had in mind when it enacted BIPA.
Your biometric information belongs to you and should not be left to corporate interests who want to collect detailed information about you for advertising and other commercial purposes. The Court recognized that individuals must have the right to sue companies that unlawfully collect their personal information; otherwise, the companies will not be held accountable.
More than a decade after BIPA’s enactment, we constantly hear new examples of companies that have collected, shared, and misused the personal information of millions being shared without their knowledge or consent. The strong protections of Illinois’s law are more critical than ever.

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Illinois Chamber of Commerce statement on Illinois Supreme Court’s ruling on Rosenbach v. Six Flags:

The Illinois Chamber of Commerce is disappointed with the Illinois Supreme Court’s ruling today in Rosenbach v. Six Flags reversing the Illinois Appellate Court’s ruling,” said Illinois Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Todd Maisch. “We fear that today’s decision will open the floodgates for future litigation at the expense of Illinois’ commercial health.”
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