Massachusetts governor to sign bill limiting police facial recognition after compromise

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A compromise has been reached between Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker and the state senate to reduce the restrictions on facial recognition included in a police reform bill he rejected earlier this month, MassLive reports.

Baker has expressed his intention to sign the new version of the police reform bill, which adds situations in which there is a “substantial risk to harm” for an individual or group to those in which facial recognition use is allowed. The new version also addresses civilian oversight of police training, the definition of “bias-free policing” and the makeup of the Peace Officer Standard and Training Commission.

Officers requesting the use of face biometrics would have to submit a written request to the Department of Motor Vehicles, state police of the FBI, according to MassLive.

The oversight and accountability measures and restrictions on certain actions, such as no-knock warrants and chokeholds, appear to have generated as much or more controversy than the changes to the regulation of police facial recognition use.

The latest senate vote passed by a 31 to 9 vote. If the governor were to veto the bill, it is unclear if legislators would have been able to garner enough votes to overrule the action.

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