A Colorado bill will limit the used of facial recognition by drones if it passes into law. Senate Bill 15-059 concerns the permission for law enforcement entities to use unmanned aerial vehicles in certain specific circumstances and under a strict set of operational guidelines.
In addition to limiting the maximum weight of a UAV , limiting the situations for use and ensuring that all law enforcement agencies must have proper licensing to use drones, Bill 15-059 also proposes limits regarding the use of facial recognition technology. Outlined in paragraph (b) of subsection (1) are the rules regarding the data collection by UAVs and the application of biometric matching on said data.
“When an unmanned aerial vehicle is used pursuant to paragraph (a) of this subsection (1), it must be operated in a manner to collect data only on the subject and to avoid data collection on individuals, homes, or areas other than the subject. The law enforcement agency using the unmanned aerial vehicle shall not use facial recognition or other biometric matching technology on nonsubject data collected by the unmanned aerial vehicle.”
Furthermore, the bill contains provisions for the destruction of information unrelated to criminal activity. If data collected is not deemed relevant to an ongoing operation, or if it doesn’t contain criminal evidence, then it must be destroyed by the law enforcement agency that deployed the UAV within 14 days of the initial drone operation.
Bill 15-059, particularly its stipulation regarding facial recognition, is an example of how the conversation about biometrics and privacy is entering the law enforcement space. Facial recognition technology has been the primary biometric technology pointed to over the past year in regards to privacy concerns.
Growing concern regarding privacy was chosen as the biggest challenge faced by the identity management industry by the experts polled in your 2014 Year in Review. The power of biometric technology is great and holds a number of major benefits, and legislation like this Colorado bill look to make sure that it isn’t abused by agencies that use it for reasons of public safety.
January 23, 2015 – by Peter B. Counter