Senators Jeff Merkley (OR) and Bernie Sanders (VT) introduced the National Biometric Information Privacy Act of 2020 that would prohibit private companies from collecting biometric data — including eye scans, voiceprints, faceprints and fingerprints—without individuals’ written consent, and from profiting off of biometric data.

The legislation limits the ability of companies to collect, buy, sell, lease, trade, or retain individuals’ biometric information without specific written consent, and requires private companies to disclose to any inquiring individual the information the company has collected for that individual. The bill would allow individuals and State Attorneys General to bring lawsuits against companies that fail to comply.

The bill is supported by Fight for the Future, The American Civil Liberties Union, Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Open Technology Institute.

“We can’t let companies scoop up or profit from people’s faces and fingerprints without their consent,” said Merkley. “We have to fight against a ‘big brother’ surveillance state that eradicates our privacy and our control of our own information, be it a threat from the government or from private companies.”

“Do we really want to live under constant surveillance by unaccountable corporations? I don’t. We cannot allow Orwellian facial recognition technology to continue to violate the privacy and civil liberties of the American people,” said Sanders.