Democratic Lawmakers Propose Nationwide Facial Recognition Ban


Four Democratic members of Congress unveiled a bill Thursday that would seek to ban facial recognition and other types of surveillance nationwide.

The legislation would prohibit federal agencies from investing in facial, voice, or gait recognition technology unless Congress authorizes it. The bill would also curtail the use of biometric surveillance by state and local governments, cutting federal funding if they’re in violation of the law.

Senators Ed Markey (D-MA) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Representatives Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) and Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) have sponsored the bill.

The proposed legislation comes not long after the news that a man in Michigan was arrested after being mistakenly identified by facial recognition software. Experts on facial recognition have warned that false positives are frighteningly common and that algorithms can be inherently biased, with severe consequences for the people affected.

This is a developing story. Check back for more updates.

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