Massachusetts governor won’t sign facial recognition ban


Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker has refused to signal a regulation banning most authorities use of facial recognition. The Boston Globe reported final week that Baker despatched an omnibus police reform invoice again to state lawmakers, asking for modifications that included putting the facial recognition guidelines.

Massachusetts legislators passed the first main state-level facial recognition ban, following a mannequin set by particular person cities like Boston and San Francisco. The bill says public businesses, together with police departments, can’t use or purchase biometric surveillance methods. It makes exceptions for operating facial recognition searches in opposition to a motor autos registration database, so long as police get hold of a warrant or display “instant hazard” that requires a search. It could assist fill a niche left by federal lawmakers, who haven’t handed a nationwide framework for utilizing doubtlessly invasive facial recognition applied sciences.

However in a letter to lawmakers, Baker stated the reform package deal “ignores the necessary function [facial recognition] can play in fixing crime.” His workplace instructed the Globe that he plans to veto the invoice if lawmakers don’t make modifications.

Facial recognition is only one side of the sweeping invoice, which goals to reform police techniques, coaching, and accountability. The package deal would create a brand new oversight fee to analyze misconduct and doubtlessly revoke officers’ licenses, and it could limit the usage of chokeholds, rubber bullets, and tear fuel. Along with the facial recognition ban, Baker objected to insurance policies like shifting police coaching oversight to a civilian-led committee.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts urged lawmakers to reject the proposed modifications. “Governor Baker rejected a vital due course of provision that may shield Massachusetts residents from unregulated police use of face surveillance expertise, which has been confirmed to unfairly goal Black and brown folks, resulting in the arrest of harmless folks. Unchecked police use of surveillance expertise additionally harms everybody’s rights to anonymity, privateness, and free speech,” stated govt director Carol Rose.



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