Earlier this week, Robert Caverly, League Vice President of Governmental Affairs, testified in opposition to LD 1945, An Act to Regulate the Use of Biometric Identifiers. This 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 failing to follow the law to sue the company directly, even if they had not experienced any direct harm.
Proponents of the bill claim that the bill is necessary to reduce the use of biometrics and to protect this type of identifier from being abused. The bill provides provisions that require consent for the use of biometrics in advance in writing and to provide a policy of deletion and retention.
The bill’s language is mirrored after a biometrics law that was enacted in Illinois which has prevented most consumers there from using fingerprint, facial, and voice recognition technology. In Illinois, financial institutions are exempt from the law. The League and the Maine Bankers Association have asked the committee to include an exemption for financial institutions should the committee decide to pursue this new policy. 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.
The bill is currently being considered by the Judiciary Committee and is scheduled for a work session on March 2. Once the committee completes its work, they will take a vote before the bill is moved to the House and Senate for consideration.