California Re-Considers the Forbidden Use of Body-Worn Facial Recognition Technology

By CIOReview | Tuesday, September 24, 2019

In the absence of a suitable cause, technology carries no essence for widespread surveillance in modern life.

FREMONT, CA: The state of California is at the edge of curbing the use of facial recognition systems and biometric technologies in body cameras worn by law enforcement.

According to ZDNet, “On Wednesday, the state Senate passed a bill, A.B. 1215, which is described as a means to prohibit a law enforcement agency or law enforcement officer from installing, activating, or using any biometric surveillance system in connection with an officer camera or data collected by an officer camera.” It also states that Phil Ting, member of the assembly authored the memo, which explains the restriction in using facial recognition technology in body cameras for the coming three years.

The fall out about the body camera, which was once a vital tool in the security was, that it could be used to hold the law enforcement accountable. It can also unintentionally serve as a mass spying device for the police and government agencies. The technology of facial and other biometric surveillance can have the potential to corrupt the core function of body-worn cameras by the officers. There are additional speculations that the devices can be modified from being transparent and accountable tools to drifting surveillance system.

The adoption of face surveillance technology by the government, especially with the use of body-worn cameras in real-time, can have severe implications on privacy, free speech, and racial justice. The improper and biased nature of facial recognition systems often bring a worry, particularly for women, people of color, as well as the minority groups. It also incorrectly matches the individuals, which leads to harassment toward innocent citizens.

As per Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), the move taken by the government was comforting and gave a certain level of pleasure that it did not defy the voices rising against the use of use face surveillance by the governmental agencies. The assembly further decides and votes accordingly to the potentials of the technology before it is sent to the Governor for other formalities.

The state has received a reasonable amount of time to reconsider the potential of the technology, which can help in providing useful information to officers during a criminal investigation. Nevertheless, there can also be efforts taken to control and balance it with civil rights. It has been a long-running worry that biometric technology, without certain restrictions, is gradually eating away the privacy of the general public.

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