DENVER (CBS4)– From facial recognition to unlock smartphones to an iris scan to skip airport security lines and voice commands to access bank accounts, the use of biometric data has exploded. State Rep. Alex Valdez says privacy laws haven’t kept pace with technology.
“Most people have heard someone say, ‘I was just talking about something and it popped up on my feed.’ That’s biometric data,” says Valdez.
Just as our fingerprints are unique physical identifiers, he says, so too are our faces, eyes, and voices and while the use of biometric data to confirm identities can make everything from travel to shopping more convenient, Valdez says, it may come at a cost.
“While it can be a useful tool to direct us in the direction of things we want or need, it’s a dangerous tool if it’s in the wrong hands and at the end of the day, that data is our most personal things about us, our voice and our face.”
And once your data is out there, he says, there’s no getting it back right now. When we sign user agreements, we often unwittingly sign away the right to what happens to our data. He plans to change that.
“Folks need to have the right to revoke consent to use and sell that information and the courts should be involved when we’re using this data for law enforcement or government purposes.”
Valdez has introduced a bill that would require companies that collect biometric data to delete it at the owner’s request. It would also bar government agencies from collecting the data without a court order.
It’s time privacy laws, he says, caught up with technology, that now even allows you to pay for things with a palm print.
“If we don’t get it now when it is kind of in its infancy and decide that hey, these are some things that people deserve when their data is being used, we’re going to have to come back when it’s already a problem.”