- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 11, 2017

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - The Washington Legislature has passed a bill aiming to prohibit companies and government agencies from gathering personal biometric data or specific biological characteristics like a fingerprint or someone’s face.

House Bill 1717 unanimously passed in the Senate Tuesday and was voted out of the House in March. It now heads to Gov. Jay Inslee’s desk to be signed into law.

Under the measure, agencies would not be allowed to obtain a person’s biometric identifier - such as retinal scans, fingerprints, handprints, voice imprints and facial recognition - without notifying them or getting their consent. It would also restrict agencies from using, sharing or reviewing any persons’ biometric characteristics.

The legislation comes after companies have discovered ways to identify people on social media via facial recognition software, access phones using a fingerprint and unlock doors with a scan of a person’s iris or retina.

Biometric identifiers would also be exempted from the Public Records Act. Currently, there is no federal or Washington law that specifically regulates the collection or use of biometric data.

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