New York City Council bans businesses from using facial recognition without public notice

In the USA, the New York City Council has adopted a local law on biometric identifier information to ‘address the increased collection and use of biometric identifier information, such as the use of facial recognition technology, by commercial establishments to track consumer activity’. The law requires commercial establishments such as retailers, restaurants, and entertainment venues to inform the public if they ‘collect, retain, convert, store, or share biometric identifier information of customers’. This has to be done through placing a ‘a clear and conspicuous sign near all of the commercial establishment’s customer entrances notifying customers in plain, simple language’ that their biometric information is processed. The law also makes it unlawful to sell, lease, trade, or share biometric identifier information. Individuals have a private right of action that allows for judgments of US$500 for failing to post signage or negligently selling/sharing biometric information and US$5 000 for the intentional or reckless sale of biometric information. The Chief Privacy Officer is required to conduct outreach and education to affected commercial establishments. The law needs to be signed by the New York mayor to become enforceable.