New York – 12 Jan 2021 – On the first day of the New York Legislature’s 2021 session, the lawmakers of NY proposed the Assembly Bill 27 (AB 27) known as the Biometric Privacy Act. The purpose of this bill is to keep the biometric identifiers of consumers such as handprints, fingerprints, voiceprints, iris scans, and other hand and facial recognitions safe and secure. The proposed act will effectively need the non-governmental (private) organizations that use biometric information with the help of a biometric identifier to make a written retention policy.
The policy should contain the time period up to which the information is being stored. Moreover, it also contains some guidelines for the process of destroying the collected data. The biometric data can be destroyed in only two cases – Firstly, if the intent of obtaining that information is satisfied and secondly if it has been three years since the collection of the data from the individual. Whichever happens first, becomes the reason to destroy the data safely. The AB 27 Act also requires the organizations and businesses to have written consent from the individual to collect their biometric data prior to obtaining it.
Additionally, the proposed act will also make sure that organizations cannot sell or make profits out of the data they’re collecting. It also encourages the organizations to keep the data safe and secure with the help of organizational and technical safeguards installed around the data. These are nearly the same protective measures that are used to keep sensitive and confidential information safe. Once the Act gets implemented, it would be the fourth state legislation based on biometrics. As of now, only Texas, Illinois, and Washington have the appropriate laws that are used to regulate the use and collection of biometric data.
Out of these three states, only Illinois has allowed the private right of action under the Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) of the city. Additional information about the impact of BIPA on the privacy landscape can be found here. After the implementation of AB 27, New York will join Illinois to allow the private right of action. This also includes awarding statutory damages of up to $1,000. Reckless or intentional violence involves an award of $5,000. However, this is not the first time when New York has proposed laws based on biometric privacy.