Privacy News Roundup – November 22, 2021

Expediting airport check in and new legislation for biometrics

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is partnering with Delta Airlines to use biometric facial recognition to allow passengers to expedite the airport check in and boarding process.

This would allow passengers to check bags, go through security, and board their flight without showing a boarding pass or identification.

To deal with privacy concerns, Delta claims it will only take a passenger’s image to send to TSA to perform an identification match against the individual’s passport photo, and it would not handle any biometric data itself.

Legislation introduced in Massachusetts would require private entities to establish a written policy to include a schedule and guidelines for permanently destroying biometric identifiers. The bill would also require an individual’s consent before an entity could collect, purchase, sell, lease, trade, obtain, or disseminate such biometric information.

Biometric data creating new potential for mental health apps

Researchers are studying new smartphone apps that grant mental healthcare providers the ability to continually assess a patient’s condition between visits, promoting more effective care and crisis intervention.

With continual patient consent, programs gather biometric data, analyze speech, and evaluate online activity. Use of the apps can inform clinical decisions, offer real-time patient support, and predict risk. Early results indicate improvement in symptoms and social function after regular participation.

Calls for national privacy laws and other legislation

Privacy advocates from three separate think tanks are urging the Federal Trade Commission to work with Congress to draft a national privacy law. They urged the FTC to abandon industry-specific regulation in favor of federal privacy standards to address the patchwork privacy legislation occurring on the state and industry levels.

There is also bipartisan support behind efforts to update the 1998 Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). The act would bar companies from collecting personal information from children ages 13-15 without their consent, as well as to add a digital marketing bill of rights for minors.

Additionally, in light of recent cyberattacks such as the Ranzy Locker and Colonial Pipeline hacks, the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee is pushing for cybersecurity legislation.

Tech giants ordered to disclose payment platform practices

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has ordered tech giants Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Square, and PayPal to turn over information about their services, products, plans, and practices regarding payments.

The CFPB will determine if and how the companies exploit their payment platforms. They will also study the practices of Chinese tech giants that offer payments services, such as WeChat Pay and Alipay.

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