Vermont Business Magazine Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) Tuesday alongside Senators Edward Markey (D-Mass), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore), and Ron Wyden (D-Ore), and Representatives Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass), and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich), reintroduced bicameral legislation to stop government use of biometric technology, including facial recognition tools.
The Facial Recognition and Biometric Technology Moratorium Act responds to reports that hundreds of local, state, and federal entities, including law enforcement agencies, have used unregulated facial recognition technologies on U.S. citizens. Research shows that roughly half of U.S. adults are already in facial recognition databases.
“Facial recognition technology violates the privacy and civil liberties of Americans, and deepens racial bias in policing,” said Senator Sanders. “I am proud that Vermont has led the way on this issue. Now it’s time for Congress to ban the use of facial recognition technology for all law enforcement.”
The American Civil Liberties Union of Vermont called S.124, the Vermont law enacted in October of 2020 that strongly limits police use of facial recognition technology, a “historic win for Vermonters’ right to privacy, and an important step towards increasing police accountability and racial justice in this state and nationwide.”
The Facial Recognition and Biometric Technology Moratorium Act would:
- Place a prohibition on the use of facial recognition technology by federal entities, which can only be lifted with an act of Congress.
- Place a prohibition on the use of other biometric technologies, including voice recognition, gate recognition, and recognition of other immutable physical characteristics, by federal entities, which can only be lifted with an act of Congress.
- Condition federal grant funding to state and local entities, including law enforcement, on those entities enacting their own moratoria on the use of facial recognition and biometric technology.
- Prohibit the use of federal dollars for biometric surveillance systems.
- Prohibit the use of information collected via biometric technology in violation of the Act in any judicial proceedings.
- Provide a private right of action for individuals whose biometric data is used in violation of the Act and allow for enforcement by state Attorneys General.
- Allow states and localities to enact their own laws regarding the use of facial recognition and biometric technologies.
Read the text of the bill here.
Source: WASHINGTON, June 17 – Senator Bernie Sanders