K&L Gates Launches Multidisciplinary Biometric Data Compliance and Defense Practice

6 December 2017
Chicago - To better support clients’ needs in the ever-evolving areas of privacy and data protection, global law firm K&L Gates LLP has established a practice offering counseling in biometric data compliance and defense. Employing a comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach to advise clients on issues arising from the use of biometric information systems, the initiative includes lawyers from the firm’s privacy, data protection and information management; class action litigation defense; insurance coverage; and labor, employment and workplace safety practices, among others.

“The use of biometrics across all industries is growing at a rapid pace,” said Chicago partner Molly K. McGinley, one of five partners spearheading the biometric data group, along with Carolyn M. Branthoover (Pittsburgh), Julia B. Jacobson (Boston), Carley Daye Andrews (Seattle), and Carl E. Volz (Chicago). “K&L Gates is uniquely positioned to provide legal advice as companies navigate the business, regulatory, and litigation maze that impact their operations in this space.”

Few law firms -- particularly any with large global platforms -- have practices focused on this emerging area, even though the use of biometric data such as voice, face, and iris recognition, fingerprint identification, and hand geometry for authentication has grown rapidly over the past decade. Already valued at over $12 billion, the market for biometric systems is expected to surpass $32 billion in the United States alone by 2022.

Considered one of the most reliable forms of individual authentication, biometric systems are increasingly implemented in technology from mobile devices to health care and financial services. Until recently, however, there was minimal legislative activity and litigation concerning the collection, use, and storage of such data. Since Illinois passed the first such law -- the Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) -- in 2008, several other states have either enacted or are considering the passage of biometric information laws, with potentially sweeping regulations around biometric data also set to take effect in the European Union in 2018.

As counsel for regional, national, and international companies with diverse privacy issues, lawyers in K&L Gates’ new practice can advise companies on a wide range of biometric data matters, including compliance with and the defense of suits relating to these various biometric information regulations, as well as insurance coverage issues. Leaders of the new biometric data group will be discussing this evolving area during a Dec. 7 webinar entitled “Biometric Data Risks.
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