We have been writing about the biometric privacy legal landscape, which has thus far been dominated by the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA). While there are a number of states that are considering bills modeled after BIPA, Washington has enacted a bill that takes a dramatically different approach. On May 16, 2017, HB 1493 (the “Washington Statute,” or the “Statute”) was signed into law by Governor Jay Inslee and will become effective on July 23, 2017.
The stated purpose of the Statute is to require a business that collects and can attribute biometric data to a specific individual to disclose how it uses that biometric data and provide notice to and obtain consent from an individual before enrolling or changing the use of that individual’s biometric identifiers in a database. Unlike BIPA, the Statute does not provide a private cause of action; it may be enforced solely by the state attorney general under the Washington consumer protection act. It should be noted, however, that Washington has traditionally been one of the leading states with regard to the enforcement of consumer privacy.