Another victory is in the books for people who value encryption and privacy, as a plan to weaken biometric privacy has been put on ice. This proposal was initially pitched by Illinois Senator Terry Link, as he wanted to collect more biometric data from consumers.for some unknown reason.
Biometrics Privacy Rules Will Not Be Weakened
Although the proposal was only filed yesterday morning, it did not take all that long for the bill to be put on hold. Who is responsible for this decision, or what the motive may have been, remains unknown. But in the end, all that matters is that biometrics privacy rules will not be weakened in the state of Illinois. Doing otherwise would set a very dangerous precedent, to say the least.
This amendment had the potential to be pushed through the legislative process without too many problems. However, privacy advocates were very concerned about this proposal, and slipping in the bill without time for public debate is not acceptable. Decisions like these require the public to be informed before it should even be considered, yet Senator Link had no intent of doing that.
What this amendment would do is undercut legal protections, and facial recognition would be exempted from the law. Some people might be wondering what this has to do with the state of Illinois specifically, but that has to do with a lawsuit filed against Facebook in the region. Three students claim the social media platform violated BIPA by scanning all faces in uploaded photos so friends could be tagged.
However, Facebook wanted to this lawsuit to be moved to California, which was granted, after which the company filed a motion to dismiss the case entirely, which was denied. Facebook amended its T&C in 2015 explaining these changes, which all users agreed with when they continued to use the social platform. Additionally, the terms also state how all cases against the company have to be litigated according to California law.
If the amendment by Senator Link has passed, any digital photo would no longer be protected from facial recognition scans by third parties. It seems this proposal was a way to try and hurt Facebook, as Link initially sponsored the BIPA proposal which is employed right now. It makes little sense to go in against something one has approved himself not too long ago.
Source: Ars Technica
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