New York’s legislature is open for business in the new year, and we’re jumping in to renew our support for two crucial bills that protect New Yorkers’ privacy rights. While very different, both pieces of legislation would uphold a principle we hold dear: people should not worry that their everyday activities will fuel unnecessary surveillance.
The first piece of legislation is A. 7326/S. 6541—New York bills must have identical versions in each house to pass—which protects the confidentiality of medical immunity information. It does this in several key ways, including: limiting the collection, use and sharing of immunity information; expressly prohibiting such information from being shared with immigration or child services agencies; and requiring that those asking for immunity information also accept an analog credential—such as a paper record.
As New Yorkers present information about their immunity—vaccination records, for example, or test results— to get in the door at restaurants or gyms, they shouldn’t have to worry that that information will end up in places they never expected. They shouldn’t have to worry that a company working with the government on an app to present these records will keep them to track their movements. And they should not have to worry that this information will be collected for other purposes by companies or government agencies. Assuring people that their information will not be used in unauthorized ways increases much-needed trust in public health efforts.