California lawmakers have passed a bill that bans law enforcement from using facial recognition technology gathered by body cameras – in a bid to end privacy abuse.
The bill, signed by Governor Gavin Newsom, will go into effect in 2020 and last for three years.
The motion also prohibits cops from using biometric surveillance including other forms of identification that can be capture from body camera videos.
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California lawmakers have passed a bill that bans law enforcement from using facial recognition technology gathered by body cameras – in a bid to end privacy abuse. The bill, signed by Governor Gavin Newsom, will go into effect in 2020 and last for three years
The bill is first of its kind in the US and recognizes that ‘the use of facial recognition and other biometric surveillance is the functional equivalent of requiring every person to show a personal photo identification card at all times in violation of recognized constitutional rights. This technology also allows people to be tracked without consent,’ reads the bill.
Officials also understand that the information gathered from the technology could be used to create a massive database ‘about law-abiding Californians’ hindering their exercise of free speech in a public setting.
‘Let this be a warning to the companies and police departments rushing to adopt this dystopian technology,’ wrote the ACLU, a nonprofit, nonpartisan, legal and advocacy organization.
The organization conducted a study of facial recognition over the summer that showed an Amazon program mistakenly identify 26 California lawmakers as criminals.
However, the study was criticized by Amazon, which also accused the ACL of ‘knowingly misusing and misrepresenting’ the recognition software.
HOW DOES FACIAL RECOGNITION TECHNOLOGY WORK?
Facial recognition software works by matching real time images to a previous photograph of a person.
Each face has approximately 80 unique nodal points across the eyes, nose, cheeks and mouth which distinguish one person from another.
A digital video camera measures the distance between various points on the human face, such as the width of the nose, depth of the eye sockets, distance between the eyes and shape of the jawline.
A different smart surveillance system (pictured) can scan 2 billion faces within seconds has been revealed in China. The system connects to millions of CCTV cameras and uses artificial intelligence to pick out targets. The military is working on applying a similar version of this with AI to track people across the country
This produces a unique numerical code that can then be linked with a matching code gleaned from a previous photograph.
A facial recognition system used by officials in China connects to millions of CCTV cameras and uses artificial intelligence to pick out targets.
Experts believe that facial recognition technology will soon overtake fingerprint technology as the most effective way to identify people.
Matt Cagle, an attorney with the ACLU of Northern California said, ‘rather than facilitating the expansion of a discriminatory surveillance state, California must invest its precious resources to foster free, healthy communities where everyone can feel safe – regardless of what they look like, where they’re from, how they worship, or where they live,’ reported The Sacramento Bee.
‘We will defend our right to privacy.’
Facial recognition has been widely used by law officials in the past, as just this past July it was found that Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials have been mining state driver’s license databases and using facial recognition technology to scan through millions of Americans’ photos without their knowledge.
Records obtained by Georgetown Law researchers and provided to The Washington Post reveal how federal officials requested access to Department of Motor Vehicles databases in three states that offer licenses to undocumented immigrants: Utah, Vermont and Washington.
The thousands of facial-recognition requests, internal documents and emails over the past five years indicate that investigators are using state DMV records to create ‘the bedrock of an unprecedented surveillance infrastructure’, the Post reported.
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