Oops! New law inadvertently banned state prisoner fingerprinting

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OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — A new Washington state law that was supposed to limit the collection of biometric data including retinal scans also accidentally banned state prisons from collecting inmates’ fingerprints.

The News Tribune reports Gov. Jay Inslee signed a new bill into law Tuesday to fix the error.

The new measure makes a few changes to an earlier bill Inslee signed to restrict the collection of biometric data by public agencies. Biometric data can include scans of people’s fingerprints, facial geometry, voice patterns or even a digital record of the way someone walks.

House Bill 1717 required government officials to notify people and obtain consent before collecting biometric information, while also prohibiting agencies from selling that data.

The earlier bill made an exception for law enforcement agencies such as the Washington State Patrol but not for limited-authority law enforcement agencies such as the Department of Corrections.

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