Maryland recently introduced House Bill 218, which, if passed, will provide protections for the biometric information of Maryland employees and citizens. Biometric information includes, for example, fingerprints, voiceprints, genetic information, and retinal images.
Specifically, the proposed law would require private entities in possession of biometric identifiers or biometric information to develop a written policy, made available to the public, that establishes a retention schedule and guidelines for permanently destroying biometric identifiers and biometric information. The written policy would not be required to be made public if it only applied to employees of a private entity and is used only for internal operations. The law would also prohibit entities from selling, trading, leasing, or otherwise profiting from biometric information without consent.
If the proposed law is passed, as written, it will allow individuals to file civil lawsuits against entities that allegedly violate the proposed law and recover the greater of $1,000 or actual damages for each negligent violation and the greater of $5,000 or actual damages for each intentional violation, plus reasonable attorney’s fees and costs.
If passed, this law will have a significant impact on Maryland employers who collect biometric information for system logins and other security purposes because it will require those employers to establish written policies for the protection of that biometric information or face potentially significant consequences.
If you have questions about your employment, the lawyers at Lebau & Neuworth may be able to help. For more information, contact us at 888-456-2529 or lebauneuworth.com/contact-us.