A House of Representatives subcommittee is calling for the creation of more comprehensive data protection laws. The Science, Space and Technology Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight specifically argues that the US needs a new law that adequately reflects the current state of biometric technologies.
According to the committee, an effective law would need to support the development and use of technologies that carry real benefits for US citizens, while curtailing any potential abuses and preserving people’s privacy. The committee is hoping that the law will lay the legal groundwork for new technologies that could be created in the years ahead.
The broad proposal was rolled out in response to testimony that was presented to the committee earlier this week. That testimony included input from the NIST, which indicated that it is already trying to create a set of privacy standards to regulate biometric technologies.
“Privacy plays a critical role in safeguarding fundamental values such as human autonomy and dignity, as well as civil rights and civil liberties,” said the NIST’s Charles Romine. “NIST has prioritized research and the creation of frameworks, guidance, tools and standards that protect privacy.”
The recommendation would also advance the goals of the America Competes Act, with respect to providing funding for technologies that can strengthen the US supply chain. That includes biometric identification technologies, which can help improve security in a number of sectors.
“Biometrics bring a lot of benefits to our lives and we want to make sure that we continue to allow those benefits while protecting the privacy of the people that rely on biometrics,” added California Representative Jay Obernolte. Obernolte is the ranking member of the committee.
The broader goal is to encourage innovation without compromising personal or national security. A comprehensive bill would need to cover fingerprint, iris, and voice recognition, in addition to more controversial facial recognition technologies. In that regard, the drive for regulation echoes a similar movement in the United Kingdom, and comes after the release of a draft version of a new US data protection law earlier this month.
June 30, 2022 – by Eric Weiss