It’s been a decade since the state of Illinois enacted legislation to protect consumers’ biometric data—their fingerprints, retina patterns and facial geometry. But a long series of legal battles that could define the scope and impact of the law is just beginning to come to a head.

The potentially broad reach of the 2008 Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) was highlighted last week, when the Chicago Tribune and other outlets got wind that Google had disabled its popular “art selfie” feature in the state, as well as in Texas, which has a similar law on the books. Some lawyers viewed the move as overly cautious, while others saw it as a veiled message to other statehouses, warning them against stringent regulation. (A Google spokesman declined to comment in response to those suggestions.)

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