Attempting to close gaps in personal information security and privacy, Texas Congressman Steve Stockman (R-TX) introduced a bill to increase privacy protections of personal biometric information. The bill, H.R. 4381, is being created to protect a consumer’s personal, physiological biometric information from being passed to third parties without permission.
The bill would create an offense for any business, government or person whom knowingly, either fraudulently, obtains biometric information relating to an individual or discloses said information without permission of the individual.
“Currently, there are no laws that prevent firms from disclosing biometric information to third parties,” Rep. Stockman told Breitbart Texas. “Biometric data should be treated just like financial and other personal data.”
The penalty for this offense would be a fine of not more than $50,000 and/or imprisonment for not more than one year, or both. The penalty increases to over $100,000 and/or five years imprisonment if the offense is committed under false pretenses. It can increase further to $250,000 and/or 10 years imprisonment if the offense is committed with the intent to sell, transfer or use the information for commercial advantage, personal gain or malicious harm.
In a press release obtained by Breitbart Texas, the Congressman stated, “Consumers should not have to worry about third parties obtaining their personal biometric information. Business entities should be penalized for disclosing such information without seeking the consumer’s consent first.”
There is no current law to provide such protections, according to the statement from Stockman’s office. Stockman pointed out that the personal genomics industry is rapidly growing as are the applications such as fingerprint identification to unlock cell phones, facial recognition application on phones and web applications, etc. Stockman pointed out these are all potential abuses of personal biometric information.
The bill has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee for consideration and evaluation.
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