Instead of watching the pretty dumb and bad special effects in Thor: Love and Thunder, we were reminded recently of a scene in the Marvel Avengers movie with Thor’s half-brother Loki, the God of Mischief. Played by Tom Hiddleston — an amazing actor who seems to be the only boyfriend Taylor Swift didn’t write a song about after their breakup — Loki viciously removes the eyeball of a German scientist who has a rare element hidden behind a retina-scan-locked vault that can stabilize wormholes. A retinal scan, of course, is a biometric technique that scans an eyeball so that a computer can recognize your unique retinal features, which may be used as a form of identification. Normally, eyeball removal for retinal scan purposes doesn’t come up too often in health data-related policy work, but the Federal Trade Commission just released a 44-page advance notice of proposed rulemaking about consumer data privacy practices and it made us think about the eyeball scene. Specifically, the Commission is inviting comment on whether it should implement new rules about how companies collect, retain, share, and maybe sell consumer data. An entire subset of questions is about how companies collect and use consumers’ biometric data — fingerprints and facial recognition are mentioned — but leaves retinal scans up to the commenters to discuss. We strongly suspect there are no Gods of Mischief keeping consumer eyeballs in violation of any privacy rules, but we expect the FTC to get to the bottom of it.
August 12, 2022 | 2 min read
August 12, 2022
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