Massachusetts bill banning facial recognition rejected by governor

Massachusetts bill banning facial recognition rejected by governor

A new police reform bill which calls for a state-wide ban on police and public authorities using facial recognition technology has been passed by lawmakers in Massachusetts, yet rejected by State Governor Charlie Baker.

The killing of George Floyd reportedly motivated the processing of the bill under state legislature. Through the bill, the only exception for the use of facial recognition would be for searches against the state’s driver license database with a warrant. The state would also have to issue annual transparency data on the number of searches made by officers.

Baker has refused to sign the bill, maintaining that the use of facial recognition has helped to convict several criminals including a child sex offender and a double murderer, according to Tech Crunch.

Others do not share his views; Carol Rose, executive director of the ACLU of Massachusetts, is urging the legislature to ignore Baker’s objections, saying “Unchecked police use of surveillance technology also harms everyone’s rights to anonymity, privacy, and free speech.”

The legislature may choose to take Baker’s comments into consideration, or not. Baker may then sign the returned version, or veto it. Massachusetts law also gives Baker the option of waiting ten days and allowing it to pass into law without his signature.

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