The Case for Banning Law Enforcement From Using Facial Recognition Technology


Executive Summary

Police use of facial recognition technology has become routine in the United States, posing grave risks to privacy and civil liberties, especially for people of color. Despite its ubiquity, there is no comprehensive regulation of the technology and its use by law enforcement.

Thus far, some cities and states have reined in law enforcement use of the technology. Some private companies that have developed facial recognition software have paused their partnerships with police as a response to pressure from critics.

A federal law would be the most powerful step to regulate the use of this invasive and dangerous technology. The Facial Recognition and Biometric Technology Moratorium Act of 2020 was introduced in June in the Senate and House of Representatives by Senators Edward Markey and Jeff Merkeley and Representatives Pramila Jayapal and Ayanna Pressley. It would ban federal agencies’ use of facial recognition technology (and other biometric technologies) and create incentives for local and state prohibitions.