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Washington state Senate passes biometric data privacy bill



Washington state Senate has passed a data privacy bill which changes the game for companies developing biometric facial recognition by providing consumers with new data privacy rights and introducing new regulations that are not covered by U.S. privacy laws, writes GeekWire.

Under the new bill, SB 6281, businesses that operate with large personal data troves in Washington state must give consumers access to the information, as well as the opportunity to correct, delete and transfer the data. Facial recognition developers such as Microsoft and Amazon will have to resort to third-party testing for their APIs to establish if there are accuracy or bias problems.

The bill is moving forward to the House in Washington for a vote. If it passes, Washington will be the second U.S. state after California to implement data privacy regulation. Sponsored by Sen. Reuven Carlyle, D-Seattle, the bill is similar to E.U.’s data privacy regulation GDPR and to California’s privacy law.

Two competing bills on biometric data privacy were proposed in the state last year, with Carlyle’s SB 5376 gaining support from Microsoft. That bill, also sponsored by Carlyle, passed the Senate last year by a 46-1 vote before stalling in the House.

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