By Paloma Sifuentes
SACRAMENTO, CA – Legislation that would regulate the use of Facial Recognition Technology (FRT) by law enforcement to protect people’s privacy rights was introduced here by CA Assembly member Phil Ting (D-SF).
“With proper regulations, we can strike a balance between using this technology and concerns about protecting people’s privacy,” said Ting, who noted AB 642 will establish reasonable legal standards for its use.
According to Ting, the bill would “prohibit the issuance of an arrest/search warrant or affidavit, based solely on an FRT-generated match…require agencies/departments that have FRTs to use algorithms that have been evaluated by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)…compel agencies/departments to adopt written policies governing the use of FRT (and) mandate annual reporting of the above and make them publicly available.”
Senator Steven Bradford (D-LA), the co- principal of AB 642, stated the importance of protecting people’s privacy rights while also using new technology to solve crime.
“AB 642 strikes the right balance by protecting against the abusive and discriminatory use of facial recognition technology by law enforcement, while allowing its use to solve serious crimes like human trafficking and child exploitation,” the CA lawmaker said.
President of the California Police Chiefs Association Chris Catren supports the measure, noting, “Facial recognition technology, when used properly, has an unprecedented ability to assist law enforcement in solving crimes and protecting our communities.”
In 2019, when FRT was first put to use, it falsely matched more than two dozen California lawmakers with photos from an arrest database.