WASHINGTON – Today, lawmakers in the House and Senate jointly re-introduced the Facial Recognition and Biometric Technology Moratorium Act of 2023, which would effectively ban law enforcement use of facial recognition in the United States. The bill is sponsored by Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Bernie Sanders(I-Vt.), Elizabeth Warren(D-Mass.), and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Representatives Pramila Jayapal(WA-07), Ayanna Pressley(MA-07), Rashida Tlaib(MI-12), Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), Cori Bush (MO-01), Greg Casar (TX-35), Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), Barbara Lee (CA-12), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC), Jamaal Bowman(NY-16), and Jan Schakowsky (IL-09). It is also endorsed by dozens of rights organizations. It would immediately stop Federal agencies in the US from using facial recognition technology.
Fight for the Future, the digital rights group behind BanFacialRecognition.com, a coalition of dozens of organizations calling for an outright ban on law enforcement use of facial recognition, issued the following statement, which can be attributed to Caitlin Seeley George, Campaigns and Managing Director (pronouns: she/her):
“Facial recognition has continued to harm vulnerable communities and erode our privacy, making this legislation more important than ever. There have been more cases of misidentification leading to wrongful arrest of Black men and more surveillance of people exercising their right to protest; databases of peoples’ most sensitive information have been breached, exposing irreplaceable data to bad actors; and more government agencies, from the IRS to the TSA, have adopted facial recognition to track our every move. We cannot afford to wait any longer to put this invasive technology in check, and any lawmaker who claims to care about privacy and justice must prove it by supporting this legislation.”
In addition to supporting bans on law enforcement and government use of facial recognition, Fight for the Future is also calling to ban the corporate and private use of the technology on workers and the public, and has run campaigns to keep facial recognition out of music festivals, colleges, and retail stores. News of Madison Square Gardens Entertainment using facial recognition to ban people from its venues highlights exactly how the technology can be used by people in power to discriminate against certain people. Fight for the Future is supporting efforts to legislatively ban facial recognition in public places, while also asking artists, venues, and fans to sign a pledge to stop the spread of the tech in entertainment venues.