Where do personal health information and biometric facial recognition technology intersect? At first blush, there is no obvious connection between biometric facial recognition (FR) and personal health information (PHI). So aside from the run of the mill individual privacy concerns, it seems a stretch to consider an image of our face with FR as a potential threat to the privacy of our PHI. Let’s be honest, the benefits abound with FR. It can help law enforcement fight crime, locate a criminal in public, and even find missing children, in turn providing us all with a better sense of safety, right?

But there is another up and coming technology that is capable of taking FR to the next level called Artificial Intelligence (AI). The intersection of FR and AI represent a real threat to PHI because it does not stop at individual privacy concerns but creeps into the healthcare realm by collecting biometric data about our personalities, personal preferences, locations, patterns and behaviors and matching it to our simple facial images thereby inferring our characteristics and behaviors. Over time, this technology can learn our habits, age, address and even our diseases.

In the US, this technology is evolving faster than the law. Unlike Europe, which is regulated by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) enacted in May 2018, federal law in the US falls short of seeing any sort of legislation on the horizon in the near future. Consequently, it is up to the states to enact their own regulatory policy and there are only three with existing laws; Illinois, Texas and Washington.

We are in the midst of the next technological revolution, and biometric FR is one technology that is likely to spark a great deal of attention from consumers, advocates, legislators and corporations to reframe privacy laws in the US and address this threat to privacy. Over the course of the next half-decade, there will surely be much more state level regulation. At this stage, only four other states are considering adopting regulations similar to Illinois, Texas and Washington including Alaska, Connecticut, Montana and New Hampshire.

Let us know where you see technology evolving faster than the law. For more information artificial intelligence and privacy, please contact Linda at 781-272-8001.

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