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Facial recognition ban for local police with private right of action passes in Portland, Maine

Facial recognition ban for local police with private right of action passes in Portland, Maine

A ballot initiative to ban face biometrics use by local police and agencies in Portland, Maine, and provide a right of private right of action to individuals if it is violated, has passed successfully, according to The Verge.

The city passed an ordinance banning the use of facial recognition by the municipal government pending the referendum result in August.

In addition to the private right of action, which does not apply to businesses the way the Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act’s (BIPA’s) does, the use of facial recognition by local government officials could be grounds for their employment to be terminated or suspended.

The new rules are in place for five years, after which they will be renewed or reviewed.

Meanwhile in Baltimore, Maryland, the City Council’s Public Safety Committee has defeated a proposal to ban the use of face biometrics in the city by a narrow margin, Fox Baltimore reports. The vote was 3 to 3.

Baltimore police have used facial recognition for a decade to match photo evidence against mugshots and driver’s license photos.

The councillor who sponsored the bill said the technology does not work well enough when matching people of color.

Baltimore police are currently under a federal consent decree to ensure the department’s adherence to regulation.

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