Portland, Maine has voted to ban facial recognition

Massachusetts lawmakers this week voted to ban the use of facial recognition by regulation enforcement and public businesses in a sweeping police reform invoice that acquired vital bipartisan help. If signed into regulation, Massachusetts would turn out to be the first state to absolutely ban the expertise, following bans barring the use of facial recognition in police physique cameras and different, extra restricted city-specific bans on the tech.

The invoice, S.2963, marks one more state authorities tackling the thorny moral problem of unregulated facial recognition use in the absence of any federal steerage from Congress. It additionally consists of bans on chokeholds and rubber bullets as well as to restrictions on tear gasoline and different crowd-control weapons, as reported by TechCrunch. It isn’t a blanket ban on facial recognition; police will nonetheless give you the chance to run searches towards the state’s driver’s license database however solely with a warrant and necessities that regulation enforcement businesses publish annual transparency experiences concerning these searches.

Massachusetts joins cities like Portland, Maine, and Portland, Oregon, in addition to San Francisco and Oakland in Northern California, which have banned police use of facial recognition. Earlier this yr, Boston turned the first main East Coast metropolis to bar police from buying and utilizing facial recognition companies, however the Massachusetts invoice goes a step additional in making the ban statewide. S.2963 handed 28-12 in the state senate and 92-67 in the Massachusetts House of Representatives on Tuesday, and it now awaits signing from Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker.

Use of facial recognition has turn out to be a controversial subject in the synthetic intelligence business and the broader tech coverage sphere as a result of of a scarcity of federal steerage regulating its use. That vacuum has allowed a quantity of corporations — most prominently controversial agency Clearview AI — to step in and provide companies to governments, regulation enforcement businesses, personal corporations, and even people, usually with none oversight or data as to the way it’s used and whether or not it’s even correct.

In August, Clearview AI — which has bought entry to its software program and its database of billions of photos, scraped partly from social media websites to quite a few authorities businesses and personal corporations — signed a contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. (In May, Clearview stated it might cease promoting its tech to personal corporations following a lawsuit introduced towards it for violating the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act, which, prior to these newer metropolis bans, was the solely piece of US laws regulating facial regulation use.)

A quantity of researchers have been sounding the alarm for years now that fashionable facial recognition, even when aided by superior AI, could be flawed. Systems like Rekognition have been proven to have points figuring out the gender of darker-skinned people and endure from different racial bias constructed into how the databases are constructed and the way the fashions are educated on that information. Amazon in June banned police from utilizing its facial recognition platform for one yr, with the firm saying it desires to give Congress “enough time to implement appropriate rules” governing the sale and use of the expertise.

Amazon was following the lead of IBM, which introduced that very same month it might not develop the expertise in any way after acknowledging criticism from researchers and activists over its potential use in racial profiling, mass surveillance, and different civil rights abuses.

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