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Biometric Breakdown – Part I

Technologies which use permanent physical characteristics for identification are increasingly popular. These “biometric” identifiers offer clear advantages over traditional passwords and keys: they can’t be lost or forgotten, and they are much more difficult to steal. No longer only the stuff of spy thrillers and science fiction, fingerprint and facial geometry scans are now commonly used to ensure that only authorized employees can access restricted facilities and computers. Fingerprints are also widely used to secure smartphones and to access banking applications. The technology has potential application well beyond security as well. Along with these commercial benefits, however, come significant risks. Unlike traditional identifiers, if biometrics are compromised they are not easily changed. That risk of compromise will likely increase as technology develops. For this reason we are seeing an increase in both biometric laws, and biometric lawsuits. In this series of posts we will look at the laws that impact a company’s collection of biometrics, and the risks when things go wrong.

Putting it Into Practice: Companies who collect or possess biometric information should follow this series and think carefully about how they collect, use and protect biometric data.

Copyright © 2018, Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP.

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About this Author

Shanna Pearce, Sheppard Mullin, San Diego, litigation, class action, intellectual property, IP, copyrights, false advertising, commercial litigation, lanham act, unfair competition
Associate

Ms. Pearce represents businesses in the areas of intellectual property and commercial litigation, from trademark and copyright matters to consumer class actions. She has represented Fortune 500 companies in complex actions involving allegations of copyright violation, breach of contract, fraud, and unfair business practices. She has also defended retailers and financial institutions in class actions alleging violations of statute and federal laws relating to false advertising, unfair competition, pricing practices, and lending disclosures. Ms. Pearce’s litigation...

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Liisa Thomas, Sheppard Mullin Law Firm, Chicago, Cybersecurity Law Attorney
Partner

Liisa Thomas, a partner based in the firm’s Chicago and London offices, is Co-Chair of the Privacy and Cybersecurity Practice. Her clients rely on her ability to create clarity in a sea of confusing legal requirements and describe her as “extremely responsive, while providing thoughtful legal analysis combined with real world practical advice.” Liisa is the author of the definitive treatise on data breach, Thomas on Data Breach: A Practical Guide to Handling Worldwide Data Breach Notification, which has been described as “a no-nonsense roadmap for in-house and external practitioners alike.”

She is known as an industry leader in the privacy and data security space and is consistently recognized by Leading Lawyers Network, Chambers and The Legal 500, and leading publications and organizations for her work in this area of law. Liisa was recently recognized as the 2017 Data Protection Lawyer of the Year - USA by Global 100, the 2017 U.S. Data Protection Lawyer of the Year by Finance Monthly, and the “Best in Data Security Law Services” at Corporate LiveWire’s 2017 Global Awards.

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