U.S. senators on Wednesday introduced a new bill that would temporarily ban law enforcement agencies from using facial recognition technology, according to cNETT. The draft new bill, introduced by Democratic Senators Jeff Merkley (Oregon) and Cory Booker (New Jersey), calls for a moratorium on the use of the technology until the committee recommends the government’s use of guidelines and restrictions.
The bill states that U.S. law enforcement is increasingly using facial recognition technology “without proper debate or without regard to its impact.” It also noted that the technology was not always accurate, especially when used among different races, women and young people. “It has been shown that facial recognition disproportionately affects communities of color, activists, immigrants, and other groups, which have often been unfairly targeted,” the bill said. “
The bill also aims to prevent the technology from suppressing First Amendment rights and violating the right to privacy and affecting civil liberties. Neema Singh Guliani, senior legislative adviser at the American Civil Liberties Union, said in a statement: “This bill is a strong recognition by Congress of the dangers of this technology and a concern for communities across the United States about its use. “However, the act still allows law enforcement agencies to use the technology by permit.”
The facial recognition bill was released after the truth about Clearview AI came to light. ClearviewAI is a controversial facial recognition app that U.S. law enforcement identifies suspects and others by comparing photos with image databases obtained from social media and other websites.
The app came under fire after a New York Times investigation into the software company last month, with Democratic Senator Edward Markey in late January calling Clearview AI a “chilling” privacy risk. The January 24 lawsuit also said the app was a “hidden violation” of civil liberties.
Following Twitter, Google and YouTube sent a termination notice to Clearview AI last week.