Congress introduces bill that bans facial recognition use by federal government

Members of Congress launched a invoice as we speak, The Facial Recognition and Biometric Technology Moratorium Act of 2020, that will prohibit using federal funds to accumulate facial recognition methods or “any biometric surveillance system” use by federal authorities officers. It could additionally withhold federal funding by the Byrne grant program for state and native governments that use the know-how.

The invoice is sponsored by Senators Ed Markey (D-MA) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) in addition to Representatives Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) and Pramila Jayapal (D-WA). Pressley beforehand launched a invoice prohibiting use of facial recognition in federal housing, whereas Merkley introduced another moratorium bill in the Senate in February with Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ).

The information comes a day after the Boston City Council in Pressley’s congressional district unanimously passed a facial recognition ban, one of many largest cities in america to take action. News also emerged this week about Robert Williams, who’s regarded as the primary case of somebody falsely accused of against the law and arrested on account of misidentification by facial recognition.

Folks in favor of a facial recognition ban argue that even when misidentification points are resolved, facial recognition can be used to focus on communities of shade. The Perpetual Lineup at Georgetown College’s Middle for Democracy and Know-how tracks local and federal law enforcement use of facial recognition and located that roughly one in 4 law enforcement officials have entry to facial recognition tech as we speak and that the tech will disproportionately influence African People.

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“Facial recognition is a uniquely harmful type of surveillance. This isn’t just a few Orwellian know-how of the long run — it’s being utilized by regulation enforcement companies throughout the nation proper now, and doing hurt to communities proper now,” Struggle for the Future deputy director Evan Greer mentioned in an announcement shared with VentureBeat and posted on-line. “Facial recognition is the proper know-how for tyranny. It automates discriminatory policing and exacerbates current injustices in our deeply racist felony justice system. This laws successfully bans regulation enforcement use of facial recognition in america. That’s precisely what we want proper now. We give this invoice our full endorsement.”

Greer continued by saying that Republican lawmakers who name themselves privateness or civil liberties supporters who vote in opposition to the invoice would “expose themselves as hypocrites.”

Criticism of facial recognition has grown in latest weeks as residents name for police reform and even defunding police to be able to reallocate funds and remedy extra issues with out armed regulation enforcement. Amazon, IBM, and Microsoft agreed to halt or finish sale of facial recognition know-how for police earlier this month. In doing so, officers from all three corporations referred to as for federal regulation of the tech. Each Amazon and Microsoft declined to reply to questions from VentureBeat about whether or not their moratoriums apply to federal regulation enforcement.

The European Fee additionally thought of a five-year moratorium of facial recognition use in public places earlier this 12 months, however these plans had been scrapped.

An absence of Republican sponsors implies that whereas the invoice launched as we speak may transfer ahead within the Democrat-led Home of Representatives, Republicans at the moment maintain the vast majority of seats within the U.S. Senate and thus may block passage.

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