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Legislation to protect Alaskans' Privacy from Misuse of Technology Moves Forward

(JUNEAU) March 11, 2010  -  Today legislation to outlaw the collection, analysis, or storage of a law-abiding citizen's biometric information without their express written consent moved from the Senate State Affairs Committee. 

Sponsored by Senator Bill Wielechowski (D-Anchorage), Senate Bill 190 updates a state law which currently protects law Alaskans' DNA from misuse by others. This legislation amends the law to include an individual's personal biometric information as private property which cannot be taken without their permission.

The term "biometric information" refers to any information about an individual based on their unique behavioral or physiological characteristics. The most commonly known forms of biometric information are a person's fingerprints and their DNA; but also include such information as iris and retinal patterns, hand geometry, voice patterns, and facial characteristics.

"One potential misuse of biometric information would be through the use of video surveillance enhanced by facial recognition technology to track citizens' movements without their knowledge," said Senator Wielechowski. "Recently, the Federal Real ID Act would have allowed the government to place electronic tracking devices in our driver's licenses, and we as a state have refused to comply with that law. This bill will protect us from other forms of technology that can be used against us in a similar way."

SB 190 goes next to the Senate Judiciary Committee for consideration.


(For more information, contact George Ascott in Senator Wielechowski's office at (907) 465-2435)

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