Proposed Statue Offers Sword and Shield to Protect Biometric Info

New York Law Journal

  • Published On: May 31, 2023

As technology has advanced, so too has the use of biometric information to enhance security and authentication processes. But while this biometric technology can provide more robust, advanced security— think face identification to log into your smart phone—it also carries increased risk.

If compromised, the uniquely personal nature of biometric information leaves a wronged party vulnerable to identity theft, hacking, and other nefarious privacy violations. Increasingly, legislatures throughout the U.S. are enacting statutes requiring companies that collect this information to protect it as well.

New York State’s Biometric Privacy Act, first introduced in 2021 and reintroduced (as S04457/A01362) in February 2023, would act as both a shield to protect consumers from the release of their biometric information, and a sword to enforce their rights should those protections fail.

Following in the footsteps of Illinois’ landmark Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA), the BPA intends to legislate how private entities collect, retain, disclose, and destroy biometric information and identifiers. Although the bill remains in the early legislative phase, because privacy legislation has been gaining significant traction across the country it seems likely that New York’s legislature will see it through to passage. The bill would take effect on the ninetieth day after it passes.

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