SB 2269 would prevent the sharing of Illinois facial recognition data with ICE

Under Illinois state law, non-visa status individuals illegal aliens are allowed to obtain a Temporary Visitor Driver's License. Applicants for this special class of driver's license are required to submit proof of Illinois residency for the prior 12 months and to provide a valid passport or consular identification card.

Public record requests by the Center on Privacy & Technology at Georgetown Law recently revealed that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has used facial recognition search technology to comb through millions of driver’s license photos.

In a Chicago Tribune report on that revelation, Dave Druker, spokesman for the Illinois secretary of state’s office, asserted that over the preceding couple of years, Illinois received three or four requests from federal law enforcement agencies, including ICE, for information on residents’ legal status, and turned down every request.

Passed in 2008, the Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) is a strict Illinois law requiring companies to receive affirmative consent from their customers before collecting ‘biometric markers’ such as fingerprints and facial recognition models. Thanks to its stiff damages provision, the BIPA has spawned many class action lawsuits; both Facebook and Google have faced lawsuits for alleged BIPA violations in their photo-tagging products.

The Biometric Information Privacy Act does not apply to state or local government organizations, including law enforcement agencies, therefore BIPA wasn't a factor in handling the requests for information from ICE.

Illinois Senate Bill 2269: ‘Secretary Of State – Facial Recognition Information’

Senator Martin A. Sandoval represents the Illinois Senate's 11th District, which contains the Southwest Side of Chicago and some towns beyond its western boundary. In the 101st Illinois General Assembly, Martin Sandoval has introduced Senate Bill 2269, which has been given the formal short description SOS-FACIAL RECOGNITION INFO; that decodes to ‘Secretary Of State – Facial Recognition Information’.

Senate Bill 2269 would amend the Illinois Identification Card Act and the Illinois Vehicle Code. Those acts respectively prevent the Illinois Secretary of State from disclosing identification card and driver's license facial recognition data or photographs to any person, organization or government body without the subject's consent, with a handful of exceptions.

SB 2269 would add to those acts language forbidding the Secretary of State from providing facial recognition search services or photographs obtained while issuing an identification card or a driver's license to any law enforcement agency or governmental entity – federal, state, or local – for the purpose of enforcing federal immigration laws. That would of course apply to ICE.

The resignation of State Senator Martin Sandoval

On November 27, the Illinois State Board of Elections announced that State Senator Martin Sandoval will resign his legislative seat, effective January 1, 2020.

Sandoval’s Springfield office, his Cicero office and his home were raided on September 24 by Federal agents with a search warrant authorizing them to seek information on suspected cases of corruption or conflicts of interest. Federal agents had previously visited a company owned by a major Sandoval donor.

It remains to be seen if and how SB 2269 will be effected by the State Senator's resignation.