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CardTech / SecurTech ‘99 I’m Not Your Big Brother How to Advocate Biometrics Legislation in the Age of Privacy Fears Presented by Tim Schellberg, J.D.

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Presentation on theme: "CardTech / SecurTech ‘99 I’m Not Your Big Brother How to Advocate Biometrics Legislation in the Age of Privacy Fears Presented by Tim Schellberg, J.D."— Presentation transcript:

1 CardTech / SecurTech ‘99 I’m Not Your Big Brother How to Advocate Biometrics Legislation in the Age of Privacy Fears Presented by Tim Schellberg, J.D. -- Industry Lobbyist Smith Alling Lane, P.S.

2 Legislative History of Biometrics F Pre-privacy paranoia -- Legislative acceptance of biometrics. F Fingerprints for employment never challenged F Fingerprints for driver’s license not opposed prior to 1995 F Present trends F Proposing biometrics for driver’s licenses and social services is always a battle. F Legislation is frequently introduced to prevent and/or regulate biometrics.

3 What Caused Legislators to See Biometrics as a Threat F Privacy rights explosion F Caused primarily by the corporate abuse of information. F Political factors F Legislators see more political value in supporting privacy interests than law enforcement interests.

4 Legislative Examples 1. Biometrics and Driver’s Licenses States that have considered legislation requiring a finger image A. Before 1995 F California -- passed F Colorado -- passed F Georgia -- passed F Hawaii -- passed F Texas -- passed B. After 1995 F Alabama -- failed F New Jersey (Smart card -- future biometric) -- failed F Utah (Smart card -- future biometric) -- failed F Washington -- failed F West Virginia -- failed F Louisiana -- failed F Florida--failed F Missouri--failed F New York--failed C. Preventing the Future Use of Finger Images F Alabama , HB failed F Georgia , HB failed F Michigan , HB passed F Texas , HB pending F Washington , SB failed

5 Legislative Examples (cont.) 2. Biometrics and Social Services Legislators do not react as strongly when biometrics affects a small class of individuals receiving a government subsidy. However, legislative battles still exist. 3. Prohibiting Biometrics for Banking In 1998 and 1999 eight states introduced bills to prevent banks from requiring fingerprints prior to cashing a check: F California (1998, AB 2265) F Georgia (1999, HB 481 & HB 50) F Missouri (1998, AB 1828) F Pennsylvania (1998, HB 15; 1999, HB 22) F Connecticut (1999, SB 697) F Maryland (1999, SB 270) F Delaware (1999, SB 697) F Nebraska (1999, LB 306)

6 Legislative Examples (cont.) 4. Regulating Biometrics F California Senate Bill Regulating biometrics. F Colorado Senate Bill Prohibits sale of biometric information. F Washington Senate Bill 6399 (1998) -- Prohibits one-to-many facial recognition searches of DMV database. F New York Assembly Bill 7644 (1997) -- Prohibits law enforcement from digitizing student pictures. F Virginia House Bill Requires purging of finger images used for commercial purposes F Missouri House Bill Businesses cannot request fingerprints 5. Incentive Legislation F New York Senate Bill If banks provide customers with biometrics then the bank Is not liable for unauthorized access. F Rhode Island House Bill Firearm dealers are not liable for harm caused by handguns which have mechanisms that prevent firing -- such as biometrics.

7 Proactive vs. Regulatory Biometrics Legislation F Advocating Proactive Legislation –Subject to the difficulties of passing legislation. –Government mandates requiring citizens to be subject to biometric searches is always going to be a tough sell. –Controversial legislation is more difficult to pass. –The future will be brighter when the privacy paranoia fades. F Preventing Anti-Biometric Legislation –It is always easier to defeat a bill than to pass one. –Private sector biometrics will avoid over regulation as powerful interest groups (law enforcement, retailers, financial institutions and high-tech interests) are capable of defending our interests. The problem, however, is getting notice to the interest groups (i.e., repeal of driver’s license finger image authority in Michigan SB Law enforcement and retail interests were not aware of this bill until it was too late).

8 How Can Biometric Proponents Fight Back in the Legislatures? F “Just do it” F Avoid the legislature when possible F Convincing the legislature that biometrics is privacy’s friend F A mission of the International Biometrics Industry Association (IBIA) F Know your adversaries F Far right and far left legislators F Far right and far left citizens groups F ACLU F Anti high-tech interests F Urban print media F Talk radio F Biometrics themselves F Know your arguments F When a privacy interest does not exist F The Constitution F Slippery slope F Accepted behavior for silent majority F Keeping up with criminal use of technology F Technology allows law enforcement more time to focus on serious crimes F Know the arguments of your specific issue

9 CASE STUDY 1997 Washington State Drivers License Biometric Legislation F Washington State was responding to a massive fraudulent identification problem. F The Coalition for a Reliable Driver’s License F Comprised of law enforcement, banking and retail interests F Extraordinary lobbying effort F The opponents of the 1997 Legislation F ACLU F High-tech privacy association F Far right and far left citizen groups and legislators (mostly right) F Media and talk radio F How the Coalition presented its case F Finger imaging prior to receiving a driver’s license is not intrusive F People who believe finger imaging is intrusive must balance the level of intrusiveness against the benefits F Opponents’ arguments and the misconceptions of the finger imaging requirement F How the legislation was defeated F Legislative paranoia F The fringe element

10 SUMMARY F Privacy abuses, advances in technology and political factors have created a privacy paranoia. Consequently, the biometric industry and their users are finding it difficult to pass proactive legislation. Furthermore, they increasingly have to fight unreasonable regulatory legislation. F Passing proactive biometric legislation will remain difficult until the privacy concerns fade. However, powerful interest groups will be able to protect the use of biometrics from unreasonable regulatory legislation. F The key to future legislative success: convince the public and legislators that biometrics is privacy’s friend.

11 Questions and Answers


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