How One State Managed to Actually Write Rules on Facial Recognition


A invoice handed by the Democrat-controlled legislature banned virtually all authorities use of facial recognition expertise, aside from the Registry of Motor Vehicles, which makes use of it to forestall id theft. The division might run searches for police solely with a search warrant. (A warrant is required beneath a Washington state law that additionally takes impact in July.)

But Massachusetts’ Republican governor, Charlie Baker, threatened to veto the measure.

“I’m not going to sign a bill into law that bans facial recognition,” Mr. Baker mentioned, in accordance to a local report, citing its use in fixing two instances of murder and little one sexual abuse.

Though it was a small half of a bigger police reform invoice, the facial recognition tips attracted consideration. NBA participant Jaylen Brown and his Celtics teammates submitted an opinion article to the Boston Globe decrying the expertise’s racial bias issues and supporting the regulation.

“Despite our positions and profiles as professional athletes, we are not immune to racial profiling and discriminatory policing,” they wrote. “Studies confirm that face recognition surveillance technology is flawed and biased, with significantly higher error rates when used against people of color and women.”

“We can’t allow biased technology to supercharge racist policing in the Commonwealth,” they added.

Eventually the legislators and the governor reached a compromise, within the type of the pending rules.

Some critics, together with different ACLU places of work, say that facial recognition is uniquely dangerous and have to be banned. Police unions and the Boston Police Department didn’t reply to requests for remark. Ryan Walsh, a public data officer with the Springfield, Mass., police division, indicated that the division doesn’t see this measure because the final phrase on how regulation enforcement can use this expertise.

“While we do not currently use or have plans to use any facial recognition software, we hope the law evolves as the technology evolves and improves,” he mentioned.


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