The No Biometric Barriers to Housing Act (S 2689) would prohibit owners of federally assisted housing units from using technology that identifies biological characteristics of current or prospective renters. This includes a prohibition on the use of facial recognition technology, and physical or remote biometric recognition technology (BRT) and analytics. According to the bill, federally assisted housing includes housing given grants, loans, subsidies, contracts, cooperative agreements, and other forms of assistance by the Federal Government, as covered under federal housing programs.
This bill would also mandate that the Department of Housing and Urban Development submit to Congress a publicly available report within one year of the bill passing. The report would focus on federally assisted housing and would discuss:
- The use of these technologies over the previous five years;
- The impact of these technologies on residents;
- The purpose for installing the technology;
- The demographics of residents in places where such technology was used; and
- The potential impacts of these technologies on vulnerable communities, focusing on privacy, civil rights, and fair housing.
Biometric analytics involves technologies and techniques that can identify measurable physical characteristics. This includes physical and remote BRTs. Physical BRT can identify individuals based on their DNA, fingerprints, palm prints, irises, or retinas. In comparison, remote BRT collects information on immutable characteristics, such as gait and voice, and identifies individuals from this stored data.