How Biometric Data Affects Your Privacy
Let’s say your child goes to an amusement park for a class field trip, and the amusement park fingerprints your child as part of entering the park for security purposes.
How long should they be able to keep your child’s fingerprints? Should they be able to sell or give away the biometric data (fingerprints) associated with your child? Or let’s say the biometric data is stored insecurely and is hacked allowing you information to spread all over the world, what is your remedy?
Why Biometric Data Can Pose Problems
Some of this was subject of a lawsuit ultimately decided by the Illinois Supreme Court in January, 2019. Illinois has a statute that allows private entities to collect biometric data (fingerprints, retina scans, etc.) for security purposes. For example, in the case of the child fingerprinted at the park, the point is to try to keep the child from getting lost or kidnapped. While this is a valid reason to collect biometric data, the statute places restrictions on how long the entity can retain the data, the notice that must be provided to the public about the destruction, and the uses that can be made of the data. Finally, the law allows recovery from the company violating the statute, even if there is direct damage, such as identity theft.
Laws on Biometric Privacy
A growing number of states have passed laws about biometric privacy. Arizona House Bill 2478, which would bring regulation of the private collection and use of biometric data in Arizona, has been introduced in the Arizona House of Representatives in the current 2019 session. As written the Bill is different from the Illinois law. It emphasizes the consent of the person whose data is being collected and exempts the collectors in health care, law enforcement and security. Security includes theft and fraud protection. The Bill allows the authentication of financial transactions. Remember the Bill has not yet passed and when it does would likely be in altered form. If passed, this would make Arizona part of the wave of states attempting to deal with biometric privacy.
The Importance of Understanding Biometric Data
Biometric data could include any manner of personal identification, such as fingerprints, retinal scans, DNA, facial recognition, etc. However, each state’s law concerning these issues is different, especially in the definition of protected types of biometric data and the requirements for those collecting the data. Therefore, you must examine your state’s laws to see if they have protected biometric data. If so, determine what types of data, and what are the requirements for collectors to preserve, destroy and give you notice and obtain your consent. If you find that your data has been improperly obtained or utilized, you then must find out what sanctions can be applied to the collectors under law.
If you believe your data has been obtained or used improperly, contact a lawyer like Vaughan S. Winborne, immediately. We have expert knowledge on the subject matter and how to fight for your case in the most effective way possible.