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US House Democrats resurrect bill to ban body cams paired with facial recognition

US House Democrats resurrect bill to ban body cams paired with facial recognition
 

A facial recognition ban has been reintroduced on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives. It would prohibit federal law enforcement personnel from using biometric recognition software with body camera video.

The legislation also would stop state and local police forces from buying biometrics-supported body cameras with federal funds.

It was introduced this week by Representatives Don Beyer (D-Calif.) and Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) and co-sponsored by Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) and Bobby Rush (D-IL).

In a statement announcing the bill, Beyer writes that tools designed to protect civil rights – body cameras – should not be used to infringe on those rights.

The Los Angeles Times’ editorial board took the same position in May. The authors said combining the two tools gives them opposing roles because facial recognition has been shown to make more mistakes identifying people of color, women and other non-white male groups.

Controversy has surrounded the combination of the two technologies for years.

In 2018, the U.S. patent office published an application for a body camera that could be used as part of a facial recognition system. It caused strong feelings then, too.

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