Washington State House Democrats


Morris bill to protect high-tech consumer biometric data clears House

OLYMPIA – The state House again approved a bill by Rep. Jeff Morris to protect your most private and irreplaceable information. The House of Representatives voted 87-10 to pass Rep. Jeff Morris’ (D – Mount Vernon) bill to protect consumers’ biometric data.

Technology allowing companies to collect biometric data is not limited to science fiction anymore — iris scans, the way you type or tap a tablet, facial recognition and voice recognition technologies already exist, but have yet to be largely used in the commercial and retail industries. House Bill 1094 would establish regulations and limitations on how this information could be collected and used in the future.

“We want businesses to think about these questions before they deploy the technology,” Morris said. “Too often with new technologies we get into a game of cat-and-mouse. This bill allows us to set a standard for how our most personal information may be used in the future.”

The bill, if passed by the Senate, would make it illegal to collect your biometric information without your permission, established that you need to give your permission before it is sold by businesses you choose to share your biometric date with, and established terms on how long they can keep your biometrics before disposing of it.

“Biometrics are not like a PIN code or password, it is the most irreplaceable information that individuals own,” said Morris.

“I want to salute the bipartisan work by Rep. Mark Harmsworth and Rep. Norma Smith,” said Morris. “The strong vote in the House last year and this year shows the business community that they need to constructively engage on this very important consumer protection issue.”

HB 1094 now goes to the Senate for consideration.