Washington state has formally passed a Microsoft-backed law that includes the most detailed rules on facial recognition in the United States, and the growth in the use of facial recognition represents a model for other states,media reported. The law was formally passed on March 12 and was signed into law today by Washington Governor Jay Inslee.
With the new law, government agencies can use facial recognition technology, but there are significant restrictions to ensure that the new technology is not used to monitor or track citizens on a large scale.
As a technology, facial recognition can identify individuals in photos, videos, or real-time cameras by using an existing database. For obvious reasons, the technology is particularly popular with law enforcement and businesses. However, many people are already pushing for a ban on the technology because it could violate the privacy of individuals who are not engaged in business or who do not know they are being monitored by law enforcement.
With Microsoft’s support and the company’s own facial recognition service, the new law seeks to protect Washingtonians as a way to ensure that institutions and businesses can use facial recognition as a tool for the public. The new law requires the use agency to be authorized to perform facial recognition scans (in non-emergency situations), and the systems used must be tested to ensure that there are no unfair performance differences based on skin color and age.