AnyVision is sharing a few tips for businesses that need to comply with New York City’s new Biometrics Privacy Law, which went into effect last month. The law forces commercial establishments to notify the public if they are capturing biometric information, and prohibits them from sharing or selling that information to third parties.
In that regard, the law applies most directly to public-facing businesses that are using surveillance cameras outfitted with facial recognition technology. To comply, those business need to post clear signs to let patrons know that a facial recognition system is in use. They do not need to obtain any other form of consent, but do need to take proper steps to ensure that that information does not find its way into any other hands.
For its part, AnyVision is trying to support those efforts with sample language for venues that need to update their signage. The company stressed that its sample text should not be taken as legal advice, and that any signs should be sent to a lawyer for a final review. The template could nevertheless serve as a starting point, and make compliance easier to achieve.
The law itself applies to a wide range of commercial establishments, such as restaurants, retail outlets, and sports and music venues. However, it carves out exceptions for financial institutions like banks and credit unions, and for all government agencies, including the police. Businesses that capture photos and video footage but do not analyze that footage with any facial recognition software or automated identification tools are similarly exempt. Commercial establishments are also allowed to gather biometric data from their employees, and can share any biometric data with law enforcement agencies.
Companies that violate the law could face significant fines, especially since it creates a private right of action for the general public. The law does not force businesses to update their terms of service, though AnyVision suggests that it might be a good idea to do so because it will increase transparency and help build trust with potential customers.
The New York Police Department currently has access to a massive CCTV network in the city, and has repeatedly tried to hide the scope of its facial recognition program from the public. AnyVision has released a facial recognition app for law enforcement, while simultaneously asking standards bodies like the NIST to craft ethical guidelines for those using the technology.
August 27, 2021 – by Eric Weiss