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Sacrificing Privacy for Security: A False Trade-Off?

April 13, 2016 | David P. MilianArticles

India's enormous Aadhaar biometric database, containing the personal biometric identifiers of nearly 1 billion Indian citizens, has again come under public scrutiny.

In a country with an ailing banking infrastructure, Aadhaar data are now being used to facilitate personal banking and the transition to a cashless economy.

Private banks are beginning to gain access to government-compiled identifiers and are installing biometric ATMs around the country. These ATMs will include biometric scanners, allowing customers to make transactions without the need for a bank card.

A recent article in India's Financial Express noted the lack of regulatory mechanisms in place to ensure consumer privacy in the country. "People are trading privacy and data security for convenience," the author writes.

This trade-off is increasingly worrisome, and in the US, it is often being made without the knowledge or consent of the consumer. Carey Rodriguez Milian Gonya, LLP has filed a series of lawsuits against Silicon Valley tech giants for unlawful collection and analysis of biometric data of non-users.

CRMG partner David Milian explained to MarketWatch in January the implications of mass biometric data collection. "The data privacy concerns are enormous. You can always change your password or get a new credit card or social security number if these websites are hacked, but you can't change your facial geometry."

The lack of a comprehensive regulatory framework for managing biometric privacy means consumers in the US, India, and elsewhere are at substantial risk. With these technologies developing at a faster rate than legislation to regulate them, CRMG has championed consumer privacy rights through litigation.

"Biometric data privacy is a very important emerging area of law, and our firm is committed to continuing to lead these historic new cases that may define how such sensitive, private data is handled in the future," said Milian.

Read the full articles on The Financial Express here, and on MarketWatch here.