The Illinois Supreme Court recently ruled an important precedent decision on privacy data violation in terms of gathering personal (biometric) data. Most probably, the ruling will have an impact on actions of technological giants such as Google, which claim that consumers do not suffer any harm due to their privacy law violations.

In the discussed matter, the defendant, the Six Flags Entertainment amusement park, recorded the thumbprint of a 14-year-old boy without a prior notice or a written consent from his parents while issuing him a season pass. The defendant stated that taking his fingerprints had not done the boy any harm. The Court unanimously ruled that the defendant had violated the law and would need to pay the boy damages, even though there was no harm shown. However, it should be noted that the use of this judgement would not be applicable to the Slovenian law. In our legal system the existence of legally recognized harm has to be proven as one of the assumptions of liability for damages.

Full judgment available here.

Nataša Pirc Musar, PhD