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New York City Biometric Privacy Law – Does this apply to your organization?

New York City’s Biometric Privacy Law took effect on July 9, 2021, restricting "commercial establishments" in New York City in their collection and use of biometric identifiers from customers.

The law has two main requirements: Section 22-1202 a. and b.

Section 22-1202 a. provides that any “commercial establishment” that collects, retains, converts, stores or shares biometric identifier information of customers must disclose this practice to customers by placing a clear and conspicuous sign near all customer entrances. “Commercial establishments” are defined as a “place of entertainment, a retail store, or a food and drink establishment”..

Biometric identifier information means a physiological or biological characteristic that is used by or on behalf of a commercial establishment, singly or in combination, to identify, or assist in identifying, an individual, including:

  • A retina or iris scan;

  • A fingerprint or voiceprint;

  • A scan of hand or face geometry; or

  • Any other identifying characteristic.

Section 22-1202 b. says that it shall be unlawful to sell, lease, trade, share in exchange for anything of value or otherwise profit from the transaction of biometric identifier information.

The required notification must be in plain, simple language that customers' biometric identifier information is being collected, retained, converted, stored or shared, as applicable. New York City provides a model notice for use by employers.

The law also provides for a private right of action. At least 30 days prior to filing an action regarding a signage/disclosure violation, an individual must provide written notice to the commercial establishment setting forth their allegation. If, within 30 days, the commercial establishment cures the violation and provides the aggrieved person an express written statement that the violation has been cured and that no further violations will occur, the law provides that no action may be initiated against the commercial establishment for the signage/disclosure violation. If a commercial establishment continues to violate the law, the individual may file an action against the establishment.


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