socastcmsRssStartBy Greg Bishop | Illinois News NetworksocastcmsRssEnd
Whether there’s a class action lawsuit against a theme park for collecting fingerprints of minors without parental consent may depend on how the Illinois Supreme Court rules on a case it heard Tuesday.
The question of whether someone is harmed if they didn’t consent to having their biometric data taken was heard Tuesday by the Illinois Supreme Court.
Alexander Rosenbach was 14 years old when he went to Six Flags in Gurnee for a school field trip in May 2016. Alexander’s mother bought him a season pass before he got to the park.
“When he gets to the park he needs to pick up an annual pass, and they’ve changed their system from having a pass with your picture on it to having a pass that works in conjunction with your fingerprint,” Rosenbach attorney Philip Bock said.
The mother didn’t consent to the fingerprint scan.
Illinois law regulates how biometric information is handled. Biometric information is individually identifiable information that cannot be changed. You can change your phone number, or your credit card number, but you can’t change your fingerprint, retinal scan, or DNA.
After making its way through the lower courts on the question of whether someone can sue over the issue, Bock told the Illinois Supreme Court Tuesday his clients were aggrieved.
Defending Six Flags in front of the Supreme Court was Kathleen O’Sullivan. She asked the court to rule only on when someone has the right to sue.
“We ask you to rule that aggrieved by a violation means injured by a violation, that there is some injury flowing from that violation,” O’Sullivan said.
The defendants argued that since nothing was done improper with the fingerprint to lead to financial or other damages, there is no harm.
Justice Anne Burke questioned that logic.
“It’s too late to wait for the harm,” Burke said. “It’s too late, they can’t do anything about it. They may never know and you can’t get your fingerprints back. It’s irreparable harm.”
Bock said the harm was in the collection without permission. How the high court decides the case could broaden its scope, he said.
“”This is a class action,” Bock said. “The case hasn’t gotten very far because we’ve been working on this threshold issue of can you even file a lawsuit if someone takes your fingerprint without your permission.”
The court did not make a decision Tuesday.