Boston –The Massachusetts Senate has unanimously approved new legislation to protect consumers facing hacked thefts of their fingerprints, facial profiles, retinal images and other aspects of their unique personal biology.
The bill is a priority of State Senator Mike Barrett (D-Lexington). An already existing law requires businesses and government to protect personal information and to notify people in the case of security breaches. This law has resulted in the identification of thousands of breaches, including as many as 947,000 Target customers compromised in late 2013.
“Current law protects the now traditional world of usernames, passwords and PINs” says Barrett. “This amended and enlarged statute aims to protect the emerging universe of unique biology-based identifiers.”
“This bill is disarmingly straightforward,” Barrett continues. “If you have biologically-based data on one of my constituents and your data system is breached or hacked, you have to let the individual know. Nothing could be simpler.”
Kade Crockford, Director of the Technology for Liberty Program at the ACLU of Massachusetts, says, “Our fingerprints and other biometric information deserve no less protection than our social security number. This fix to our data security law is common sense. Our government should guarantee the right to know if our sensitive biometric data is stolen.”
Given its passage by the Senate, Barrett’s bill now goes to the Massachusetts House of Representatives for a second legislative round. If approved, it then goes on to the Governor.