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California facial recognition bill aims to keep citizens safe from false arrests

California facial recognition bill aims to keep citizens safe from false arrests

San Francisco assembly member Phil Ting has introduced AB 1814, a bill that would prevent police from using facial recognition technology (FRT) matches for probable cause in California, with hearings expected to take place this spring. Under the bill, law enforcement would not be able to base a search, arrest or affidavit for a warrant solely on an FRT match.

The bill refers to using facial recognition for 1:n matching where the face of an unidentified person is biometrically compared to a database of known individuals. Officers must also examine any information taken from facial recognition systems carefully and consider the possibility that the matches could be inaccurate.

The aim of the bill is to prevent false arrests from the use of face recognition.

“While facial recognition technology can be helpful in solving cases, one person arrested from an incorrect match is one too many. By requiring additional evidence, we can help protect people’s privacy and due process rights,” said Ting in an announcement for the bill.

His previous bill, AB 1215, placed a temporary ban on the use of FRTs but expired in 2023. Ting also introduced AB 642 last year, which would require the establishment of written standards for privacy and security when dealing with face biometrics data, but it was held up in committee.

Under the new bill, local governments within the state of California can still elect to ban its use entirely.

At the end of 2023, Baltimore introduced a bill to increase transparency in how police use FRT in their work.

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One Reply to “California facial recognition bill aims to keep citizens safe from false arrests”

  1. I fully support California AB 1814.

    I have worked for or consulted for three of the leading facial recognition vendors, as measured by NIST FRTE testing.

    But none of these three companies would claim that their technology should serve as anything other than an investigative lead.

    If all agencies only used facial recognition as an investigative lead, none of the headline grabbing false arrests would have occurred.

    I’ll say it again: investigative lead.

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