California is taking a bold step to fight police use of facial recognition tech

The California state Senate passed a bill on Wednesday that would place a three-year moratorium on the use of facial recognition technology in body cameras used by law enforcement.

The Washington Post reports the bill passed in the state’s Senate and will head to its Assembly. It would ultimately need to be signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom (D).

The bill was backed by a number of civil rights and digital rights groups. The use of facial recognition technology has recently gotten national attention, and several cities—including San Francisco and Oakland, California—have banned the use of the technology.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful, called for a ban on law enforcement using facial recognition as part of his criminal justice reform plan. Other 2020 candidates, like Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), have stopped short of calling for a complete ban.

One of those groups who backed California’s bill, Fight for the Future, has launched a campaign that is endorsed by more than 30 organizations, calling for a federal ban of the use of facial recognition technology in law enforcement.

“This is a major victory for civil rights and civil liberties groups on the ground in California who are leading the fight to rein in invasive facial recognition surveillance,” Evan Greer, deputy director of Fight for the Future, said in a statement. “But no one should be subjected to automated biometric surveillance—the ultimate Big Brother surveillance weapon–regardless of where they live. That’s why we’re calling on lawmakers at the local, state, and federal level to enact an outright ban facial recognition surveillance.”

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Andrew Wyrich

Andrew Wyrich

Andrew Wyrich is a politics staff writer for the Daily Dot, covering the intersection of politics and the internet. Andrew has written for USA Today, NorthJersey.com, and other newspapers and websites. His work has been recognized by the Society of the Silurians, Investigative Reporters & Editors (IRE), and the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ).