Biometric privacy law proposal to be revived in Florida as states press ahead

Biometric privacy law proposal to be revived in Florida as states press ahead

A bill to impose privacy rules on corporate biometric systems, including a private right of action against companies that violate those rules, will be reintroduced in the Florida state legislature after stalling in the past session, the Florida Record reports.

A legislative assistant in the office of State Senator Gary Farmer (D-Fort Lauderdale), who sponsored the bill during the previous legislative session, said Farmer plans to reintroduce the proposal in the next one.

“We don’t want to be burdensome on small business, or on large business, for that matter. We’ve actually put out calls to corporations that might be interested in some of these changes,” Shannon says. “We wanted to make sure that all stakeholders were brought to the table, but no small business had come to us and said they had an issue with biometric privacy, and I think has more to do with the fact that lot of small businesses, at least in Florida, are not engaged in that sort of business, so it’s pretty limited in what it affects.”

National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) State Director Bill Herrle characterized the proposal “mining by trial lawyers,” saying its purpose is to enable lawsuits, according to the Florida Record.

A similar bill may also be reintroduced in Arizona during the coming session, after it was pulled by its sponsor, House Speaker Russell Bowers (R-Mesa), for improvement, Capitol Media Services reports. The bill had already passed the House Technology Committee.

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich says a right to privacy built into that state’s Constitution may protect state residents from privacy invasions, and if not, he supports further legislation. Brnovich wrote to Facebook last year complaining that opting out of data collection on the service took 21 clicks and screens, and the company agreed to some changes.

In addition to concern for how businesses collect and use biometrics, Brnovich is concerned about they interact with the government.

“One of the things that we have recently seen is government working with Big Tech and internet service providers to get information that affects individual rights,” Brnovich said. “So we’re starting to see that line blur a little bit more and more when government is using Big Tech and internet service providers to pretty much do its bidding.”

Lawsuits over biometric privacy continue to pile up in Illinois, meanwhile, with Law360 reporting a former employee at a Hilton hotel in Chicago filing a potential class action for alleged violations made as part of a fingerprint time and attendance system. A former employee of debt collector Harris & Harris has likewise filed suit over a fingerprint time clock system, the Cook County Record reports.

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