Four Democratic lawmakers want to ban the federal government from using facial recognition technology. Led by Massachusetts Senator Edward J. Markey and Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley, the group plans to introduce The law on the moratorium on facial recognition and biometric technology in Congress. If passed, the bill would ban federal authorities from using the technology alongside several other biometric tools like speech recognition. Perhaps more importantly, state and local entities, including law enforcement agencies, should adopt their own moratoria on securing funding from the federal government.
In exposing the need for political intervention, the group cites a report of the National Institute of Standards and Technology. The organization recently found that people of color are up to 100 times more likely to be misidentified by facial recognition technology than white males. Lawmakers also point out last year wrongful arrest of Robert Williams. According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the incident is the first known case of wrongful arrest in the United States based on an incorrect facial recognition match.
While organizations like the ACLU and the Electronic Frontier Foundation have spoken out in favor of the bill, it will not be easy to pass it in an equally divided Senate and just over a year from the primary elections. 2022. As it stands, a handful of American cities like Boston have banned facial recognition, but these bans do not prevent federal authorities from using the technology in these communities.
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