Earlier this year, the League testified in opposition to LD 1945, An Act To Regulate the Use of Biometric Identifiers. The bill would require increased consent and security provisions around the use of biometrics such as voice recognition and fingerprints. In addition, the bill would allow consumers whose biometrics were used by a company to sue the company directly, even if they had not experienced any direct harm.
The bill is based on a biometrics law in Illinois. Financial institutions there are exempt from the law. Both the League and the Maine Bankers Association have serious concerns that Committee Report B will discourage and significantly increase risks and liabilities for Maine financial institutions seeking to use biometric technology. Committee Report A, however, proposes that a comprehensive study be conducted on the issue for the next legislature to consider. The League has been encouraging legislators who are interested in supporting privacy issues to support the study option.
“Report B is the classic don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater scenario,” said Robert Caverly, League Vice President of Governmental Affairs. “Credit unions that use biometrics are doing so in a safe and responsible way. Credit unions do not sell or give away biometric data, so our industry should not be held to the same standard as other corporate entities. Credit unions are examined regularly and corrective action can be taken before harm is done to members. A private right to sue is excessively punitive and unnecessary in the eyes of the League.”
LD 1945 is expected to be brought to the floor of the House for its initial consideration and a vote on Friday. Final action on this bill will conclude next week as the legislature aims to complete its work and adjourn.