Democratic junior senator Chris Coons (D-Delaware) is cosponsoring a bipartisan piece of legislation that aims to regulate the use of facial recognition technology on the federal level.
The other sponsor for the bill — known as The Facial Recognition Technology Warrant Act — is Utah Republican senator Mike Lee (R-UT). It would require federal law enforcement agencies to obtain a court order and prove probable cause in order to use facial recognition technologies for surveillance or in an investigation.
This places similar restrictions on the technology to what is found with more traditional forms of police surveillance such as wiretaps or cellphone searches. The bill would also require any warrant granted by the court to be renewed every 30 days, though there is a clause contained within it that could allow law enforcement agencies to use facial recognition in an investigation without a court order under ‘exigent circumstances’.
Though he’s aware of the benefits the tech could provide, Coons is also concerned about the dangers it can pose.
“We’re trying to strike a balance with this bill between public safety and protecting civil liberties and civil rights,” he said. “I’ve been genuinely concerned about the ways in which China is applying facial recognition technology nationwide through a network of hundreds of millions of cameras to continuously surveil and arguably oppress elements of their society,” he added.
The use of facial recognition technology has been the subject of increased criticism and scrutiny lately, with China’s use of it along with other forms of biometric surveillance in the country’s northwestern Xinjiang region at the forefront.
A number of state and municipal governments within the United States have also placed various bans on the use of facial recognition technology in recent months.
Source: Delaware Public Media
December 17, 2019 – by Tony Bitzionis