US law enforcement’s use of facial recognition technology represents a contentious public issue. Opposition to this growing trend has forced the issue into the legislature and the courts.
The Facial Recognition Technology Warrant Act, a new federal bill introduced in the Senate this month, requires federal agents to obtain a judge’s approval prior to using the technology during an investigation. Notably, the stipulations in the bill only apply to real-time facial recognition analyses.
The bill stipulates that federal law enforcement must provide a reason to track someone in real-time for a period longer than three days and it would limit such surveillance to a sum total of 30 days. The bill would also require the judges to report the law enforcement requests to U.S. court administrators for tracking. Lastly, the bill would also mandate that law enforcement officials collaborate with government technology researchers to ensure the accuracy of the facial recognition systems in use. And again, this bill would only apply to federal policing agencies, not state or local police.
Andrew Ferguson, a professor of law at the University of the District of Columbia says that “It’s an OK step. It addresses a problem that’s not a problem yet, but it omits the problem that is currently in practice right now”
To learn more about the Facial Recognition Technology Warrant Act, see this NBC News article.