Local Politics

Privacy-wary House panel Oks biometric protections

BOISE, Idaho -  Businesses that collect and use hair samples, finger prints and retina scans could face tough sanctions, under a measure headed to the Idaho House floor.

The State Affairs Committee Tuesday morning approved new privacy standards for full debate.

Rep. Ed Morse of Hayden Lake fears technological advances in collecting biometric information have outstripped laws governing how that information can be used.

The northern Idaho Republican said his bill, which carries with it fines of $1,000 for anybody caught abusing biometric data they collect, helps "level the playing field."

And breathe easy, he said: Though garbage companies collect trash with traces of people's DNA, his bill leaves such businesses alone.

It also doesn't extend to governments, but Morse says the public sector's collection of data is "fertile ground" for future regulation.