Massachusetts on the verge of changing into first state to ban police use of facial recognition
Massachusetts lawmakers this week voted to ban the usage of facial recognition by regulation enforcement and public businesses in a sweeping police reform invoice that obtained vital bipartisan help. If signed into regulation, Massachusetts would change into the primary state to totally ban the expertise, following bans barring the usage of facial recognition in police physique cameras and different, extra restricted city-specific bans on the tech.
The invoice, S.2963, marks one more state authorities tackling the thorny moral situation of unregulated facial recognition use within the absence of any federal steering from Congress. It additionally consists of bans on chokeholds and rubber bullets along with restrictions on tear fuel and different crowd-control weapons, as reported by TechCrunch. It isn’t a blanket ban on facial recognition; police will nonetheless be capable to run searches in opposition to the state’s driver’s license database however solely with a warrant and necessities that regulation enforcement businesses publish annual transparency experiences relating to these searches.
Massachusetts joins cities like Portland, Maine, and Portland, Oregon, in addition to San Francisco and Oakland in Northern California, which have banned police use of facial recognition. Earlier this yr, Boston grew to become the primary main East Coast metropolis to bar police from buying and utilizing facial recognition providers, however the Massachusetts invoice goes a step additional in making the ban statewide. S.2963 handed 28-12 within the state senate and 92-67 within the Massachusetts Home of Representatives on Tuesday, and it now awaits signing from Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker.
Use of facial recognition has change into a controversial subject within the synthetic intelligence business and the broader tech coverage sphere due to a scarcity of federal steering regulating its use. That vacuum has allowed a lot of firms — most prominently controversial agency Clearview AI — to step in and supply providers to governments, regulation enforcement businesses, non-public firms, and even people, usually with none oversight or data as to the way it’s used and whether or not it’s even correct.
In August, Clearview AI — which has bought entry to its software program and its database of billions of photographs, scraped partially from social media websites to quite a few authorities businesses and personal firms — signed a contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. (In Might, Clearview mentioned it could cease promoting its tech to personal firms following a lawsuit introduced in opposition to it for violating the Illinois Biometric Info Privateness Act, which, prior to those more moderen metropolis bans, was the one piece of US laws regulating facial regulation use.)
Quite a lot of researchers have been sounding the alarm for years now that fashionable facial recognition, even when aided by superior AI, could be flawed. Methods like Rekognition have been proven to have points figuring out the gender of darker-skinned people and undergo from different racial bias constructed into how the databases are constructed and the way the fashions are skilled on that information. Amazon in June banned police from utilizing its facial recognition platform for one yr, with the corporate saying it needs to present Congress “sufficient time to implement acceptable guidelines” governing the sale and use of the expertise.
Amazon was following the lead of IBM, which introduced that very same month it could now not develop the expertise in anyway after acknowledging criticism from researchers and activists over its potential use in racial profiling, mass surveillance, and different civil rights abuses.
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