SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WTVO) — White Castle is the latest Illinois business to be hit with a multi-million dollar fine over violation of the state’s biometric privacy laws, which one expert warns the impact of which could “cripple” businesses statewide.

Last week, White Castle was hit with $17 billion in fines for violation of the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA).

The Illinois Supreme Court handed down a 4-3 decision on Friday that said the fast-food chain has to face claims that it scanned the fingerprints of almost 9,500 employees without their consent, according to Reuters.

The Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act gives penalties of $1,000 per violation and $5,000 for intentional violations. It requires companies to get permission from employees before collecting biometric information, such as fingerprints and retinal scans.

The company said that they cannot be sued for every time an employee would use these biometrics to access their computer systems, but instead only for the initial collection of the information.

The court, however, said that White Castle collected the workers’ fingerprints every time they had to use the company’s computer systems.

Justice David Overstreet argued that the ruling “will lead to consequences that the legislature could not have intended,” The Center Square reported.

“That is going to kill businesses, and the Supreme Court said as much in their decision, I mean literally, White Castle won’t be able to pay that much money,” said Phil Melin, executive director of Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse-Illinois. 

“Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act is a poorly drafted law that allows trial attorneys to obtain ludicrously excessive damage amounts that are far out of proportion with any sane estimation of harm,” Melin said. “The ramifications of this decision will extend beyond the financial destruction of one beloved 102-year-old Midwest restaurant chain, as the shock waves of this decision ripple through the Illinois economy.”  

Just recently, social media service Snapchat paid $35 million to settle a lawsuit similar to previous class-action suits against Facebook and Google, alleging the social media app violated the privacy act by collecting biometric information (such as facial images) without users’ consent.

Illinois law prohibits companies from collecting biometric data for storage, sale, or transfer.