HB 1493 (2017) Concerning Biometric Identifiers.

Sponsors: Jeff Morris (D-LD40), Mark Harmsworth (R-LD44), Norma Smith (R-LD10), Gael Tarleton (D-LD36), Derek Stanford (D-LD1)

Why This Matters

As reported in The Atlantic last year, with more and more devices moving away from PINs and passwords and towards biometric identifiers such as fingerprints, retina scans and voice authentication, we must protect these under the law just as we protect keys and passwords.

Currently, they are not treated the same, and police or other authorities can force you to unlock your phone or laptop without a warrant or court order. This is especially dangerous in the era of travel bans from the Trump administration targeting Muslims and other people of color.

Contact the sponsors of this bill and ask that in addition to the consumer protections outlined in the bill, they ensure that private citizens cannot be forced to give up their biometric information to unlock secured devices without a proper search warrant or court order, and only in cases not involving self-incrimination as defined by the 5th Amendment to the US Constitution.

Update: This legislation was passed without any provisions to protect biometric identifiers. Contact your local rep and ask them to consider this for any upcoming special sessions or next year’s agenda.