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Congress should pass, and the President should sign into law, the National Biometric Information Privacy Act of 2020 (National BIPA). Introduced by Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT), this bill limits the ability of private entities to collect biometric data and requires them to ensure the privacy and security of data they do collect. Unlike most federal regulatory legislation, it also provides for a private right of action through which individuals can seek meaningful remedies.

Critics argue that the bill will deprive consumers of online shopping services and convenient digital security, and that employers and retailers may retaliate by requiring consent for biometric data collection as a condition of service or employment. Supporters argue that the status quo has already defaulted to mandatory consent, and that without legislation, citizens who value their privacy are left without a remedy.

Biometric data collection provides relatively negligible benefits in commercial and employment contexts. Conversely, unregulated collection erodes civil liberties and violates the fundamental right to privacy. On balance, the risks far outweigh the benefits.

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