Legislature(2009 - 2010)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)

03/02/2010 09:00 AM Senate STATE AFFAIRS

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Heard & Held
Moved SB 284 Out of Committee
Moved CSHJR 16(L&C) Out of Committee
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
              SB 190-BIOMETRIC INFORMATION FOR ID                                                                           
9:01:22 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  MENARD  announced the  first  order  of business  to  come                                                               
before the committee would be SB 190.                                                                                           
SENATOR BILL  WIELECHOWSKI, sponsor of  SB 190, said  the purpose                                                               
of SB  190 is to  update an  existing law, passed  unanimously in                                                               
2004, to  protect our  privacy rights.  The existing  law outlaws                                                               
the  collection, analysis  or storage  of a  law-abiding person's                                                               
genetic information  or DNA without  his or her  written consent.                                                               
Advances  in DNA  technology  have been  of  benefit to  society,                                                               
medicine  and law  enforcement but  also hold  the potential  for                                                               
misuse. DNA  is now  only one form  of biometric  information and                                                               
emerging  technologies  further   threaten  our  privacy  rights.                                                               
Physiological characteristics,  unique to  an individual,  can be                                                               
used  to obtain  information  about people  without consent.  For                                                               
example,  facial  recognition  technology   can  track  a  person                                                               
anywhere they go.  He pointed out that Great  Britain has cameras                                                               
set up  and tracks citizens  all over the country;  most Alaskans                                                               
would  find  that offensive.  Senator  Wielechowski  said he  was                                                               
motivated  to  sponsor  SB  190  after  being  approached  by  an                                                               
individual who  was refused admittance  to the  state accountancy                                                               
licensing exam  because he refused  to submit  to fingerprinting.                                                               
This man offered  his driver's license, social  security card and                                                               
passport but was told this was insufficient identification.                                                                     
9:04:33 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI  said it is offensive  to treat law-abiding,                                                               
privacy-loving   Alaskans    like   criminals.    Once   scanned,                                                               
fingerprint data is often handed  over to private data management                                                               
firms, some  of which  sell personal  data sourced  from multiple                                                               
public and  private databases. Adding only  "fingerprints" to the                                                               
existing law protecting  our DNA, would still  allow companies to                                                               
collect   retinal   scan   information,   facial   characteristic                                                               
information  or other  private data.  Thus, the  term "biometric"                                                               
was used in drafting the law.                                                                                                   
CHAIR  MENARD  said   she  understood  that  some   of  the  data                                                               
management firms are in Europe or East Asia.                                                                                    
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI replied that is correct.                                                                                   
SENATOR FRENCH  asked how the  practice of taking  photographs is                                                               
differentiated   from   unauthorized  collection   of   biometric                                                               
9:07:16 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI  said a facial  biometric system is  made up                                                               
of  three   components:  a  camera,   a  software   program  that                                                               
recognizes face geometry  such as placement of the  eyes and nose                                                               
and  a  system  capable  of classifying  all  those  elements  to                                                               
differentiate between people.                                                                                                   
9:08:23 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MENARD opened public testimony.                                                                                           
JASON GIAIMO,  representing himself, said  two years ago  he went                                                               
to take the  final part of the CPA exam.  He was refused entrance                                                               
due to a lack of  proper identification, even though he presented                                                               
his driver's  license, passport and  more. Only  fingerprints, in                                                               
addition  to  other ID,  were  sufficient.  Through research,  he                                                               
found the  fingerprints would have  gone into a database  that is                                                               
transmitted  over  the internet  to  a  foreign data-mining  firm                                                               
called  Choice Point.  Choice Point  is the  largest supplier  of                                                               
information to over 7,000 different  companies including the IRS,                                                               
FBI and Department of Homeland  Security. He said big business is                                                               
masquerading as security.                                                                                                       
9:12:25 AM                                                                                                                    
BRENDA  NATION, American  Council of  Life Insurers  (ACLI), said                                                               
the ACIL's  first concern  is the  broad definition  of biometric                                                               
information particularly in  Version P on page 3,  lines 3-4: "an                                                               
individual's     unique      behavioral     and     physiological                                                               
characteristics".  She  said  ACLI  does not  understand  how  to                                                               
comply  with this  broad definition  when collecting  information                                                               
about  a  person  wanting  to purchase  life  or  long-term  care                                                               
insurance.  Life insurers  are required  under federal  and state                                                               
privacy laws  and regulations to  obtain written consent  from an                                                               
individual  before obtaining  their  personal, non-public  health                                                               
information.   Those   regulations    include   prohibitions   on                                                               
disclosure  and  business exceptions  that  allow  ACLI to  serve                                                               
their  customers.  Exceptions  are  also  found  in  the  current                                                               
statutory definition  of DNA analysis which  allows life insurers                                                               
and others  to collect  and retain  certain information  to serve                                                               
She  said   ACLI's  second  major   concern  is  that   under  AS                                                               
18.13.010(c), and  SB 190,  a person is  allowed to  revoke their                                                               
written consent  at any  time. She said  what information  SB 190                                                               
protects  or  does  not  is   unclear.  For  example,  would  the                                                               
information  included in  a person's  health history,  held by  a                                                               
doctor, be considered biometric  information? Without the ability                                                               
for the  insurer and  the doctor to  share information,  paying a                                                               
long-term care claim could be problematic.                                                                                      
9:16:18 AM                                                                                                                    
Similarly,  should  a person  revoke  his  consent, an  insurance                                                               
issuer would  not know what  information is biometric  and should                                                               
be removed from the file, making  it difficult to comply with the                                                               
law. She  said she provided  two suggested amendments  to Senator                                                               
Wielechowski  regarding the  definition of  biometric information                                                               
that would alleviate ACLI's concerns with SB 190.                                                                               
SENATOR  PASKVAN  said he  expected  that  an insurance  provider                                                               
tracks  a member  with a  plan  number and  a participant  number                                                               
rather than with biometric information.  He asked Ms. Nation what                                                               
she means  by using  biometric information to  track a  person in                                                               
relation to a payment for a medical procedure.                                                                                  
MS.   NATION  said   ACLI  members   do  not   use  things   like                                                               
fingerprints,   hand   geometry,    voice   recognition,   facial                                                               
recognition or retinal scans. ACLI's  concern with the definition                                                               
of biometric  information is the  piece that  reads, "information                                                               
that   is  based   on  an   individual's  unique   behavioral  or                                                               
physiological characteristics". The language  is so broad that it                                                               
could potentially encompass other health information.                                                                           
CHAIR  MENARD   asked  Senator  Wielechowski  if   he  feels  the                                                               
definition of "biometric information" is too broad.                                                                             
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI said the intent of  SB 190 is not to exclude                                                               
necessary health  insurance information  but to  protect people's                                                               
personal,   private  information   against  current   and  future                                                               
9:20:03 AM                                                                                                                    
He  said   he  would  not   object  to  taking   "behavioral  and                                                               
physiological characteristics" out of SB  190 if the committee is                                                               
concerned about the interpretation of those words.                                                                              
SENATOR PASKVAN  suggested that  the assembly  of data  by others                                                               
and collecting that information  scientifically or by computer is                                                               
the troubling aspect.                                                                                                           
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI reiterated  that the intent of SB  190 is to                                                               
protect   Alaskan's  privacy   and  new   technologies  must   be                                                               
considered.  He  said   removing  "behavioral  and  physiological                                                               
characteristics  including"  out  of  SB   190  might  solve  any                                                               
problems. He  said he is happy  to work with Senator  Paskvan and                                                               
Senator Menard's offices and the insurance industry.                                                                            
9:23:12 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MENARD opened public testimony.                                                                                           
JEFFREY  MITTMAN,   Executive  Director,   ACLU,  said   ACLU  is                                                               
generally  supportive of  the SB  190. ACLU  has one  concern: On                                                               
page 2, lines  11-12 of SB 190 would amend  AS 18.13.010(b)(6) to                                                               
read "for  background checks  as permitted  or required  by state                                                               
statute or by  federal statute or regulation".  ACLU's concern is                                                               
that that  exception is so  broad that it  completely encompasses                                                               
the rule.  ACLU hopes  to work with  Senator Wielechowski  or the                                                               
drafter  to ensure  that  necessary checks  are  allowed but  not                                                               
against an individual's consent or  knowledge. If such a revision                                                               
were made, ACLU would fully support SB 190.                                                                                     
9:26:02 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MENARD closed public testimony.                                                                                           
CHAIR  MENARD announced  she would  hold SB  190 in  committee to                                                               
clear up some of the questions that were discussed.                                                                             

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