Wednesday, June 17, 2009

PA Senate Panel Okays Privacy Bills

You may not be aware that when a business swipes your driver's license to check identification, they're also getting other personal information and in some cases then sell that to marketing firms and credit card companies. The Pennsylvania Senate Communications and Technology Committee has approved 3 measures aimed to protect privacy and personal information.
The panel approved Wozniak's bill, the "Identification Card Electronic Swiping Act," which would restrict the use of information obtained from a person's driver's license to verifying a person's age and to collecting information required for reporting or preventing fraud or abuse. Wozniak says right now some businesses, mainly restaurants and bars, are selling the information without the customer's knowledge or consent. His bill would prohibit the selling of that information.

The committee also approved legislation which would block Pennsylvania's participation in the federal "Real I-D" program which among other things requires Departments of Motor Vehicles across the country to connect their databases, creating a new national database. Wozniak, a co-sponsor of the bill to block the federal program, says calls "Real I-D" a "kneejerk reaction" to the 9-11 attacks on the U.S. He said at a time "when we're trying to protect people from identity theft, the federal government wants more information."

The third bill would prohibit government bodies from capturing or releasing biometric information without a person's approval. Biometric data includes fingerprints, palm prints, facial feature pattern characteristics, voice data and retinal scans.
The full Senate is to take up the three measures soon.

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