Ban on facial recognition in public housing proposed in U.S. congress

U.S. legislators are preparing to bring a proposed bill before congress which would ban the use of biometric facial recognition by public housing units the receive funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, CNET reports.

The “No Biometric Barriers to Housing Act” is expected to be introduced by Representatives Yvette Clarke (D-NY), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) this week, and would also mandate HUD to produce a report on the impact of facial recognition on public housing units and their tenants.

A bill was introduced in New York State’s legislature earlier this year proposing a ban on facial recognition systems on rental properties, along with a private right of action for violations. The proposal was sparked by a deployment at Atlantic Plaza Towers in Brownsville, Brooklyn, in the area represented by Clarke.

Tenants in New York sued a landlord in April for the right to physical keys rather than a smartphone-based app for access control, complaining that the app’s privacy policy allowed location tracking, and that not all residents had phones compatible with the app, according to CNET. The case was settled in May, with landlords agreeing to provide physical keys.

Another federal bill relating to facial recognition, the Commercial Facial Recognition Privacy Act, was introduced this year by Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Brian Schatz (D-HI).

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