Democratic Lawmakers Limit Federal Use of Facial Recognition Technology

Nextgov | June 29, 2020

Democratic Lawmakers Limit Federal Use of Facial Recognition Technology
A bicameral group of Democratic lawmakers introduced legislation to ban the use of facial recognition technologies by all federal agencies without explicit authorization from Congress. On Thursday, Sens. Edward Markey, D-Mass., and Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., and Reps. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., and Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., introduced the Facial Recognition and Biometric Technology Moratorium Act of 2020. The bill’s long title offers a fuller picture of the lawmakers’ intent: To prohibit biometric surveillance by the federal government without explicit statutory authorization and to withhold certain federal public safety grants from state and local governments that engage in biometric surveillance. For federal agencies, that would mean a blanket ban on the use of “any biometric surveillance system” that uses facial recognition technology or “information derived from a biometric surveillance system operated by another entity,” including another authorized federal agency or through a contracted vendor.

Spotlight

Despite still being a relatively young country, the United States of America has a long and colorful political history. Each of the surviving major political parties continues to brag about numerous larger-than-life political figures that have defined and shaped today’s Democratic and Republican parties. Vastly differing Americans, with vastly differing backgrounds, living in vastly differing regions of the nation collectively appear to be divided almost equally – at least judging by the results of recent major elections during which the electorate split near evenly between liberal Democratic principles and more conservative Republican ideology. A review of the major issues of the day clearly demonstrates this divide; a nation split almost evenly and debating the key issues of the day in a fashion that likely would please our Founding Fathers.

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Despite still being a relatively young country, the United States of America has a long and colorful political history. Each of the surviving major political parties continues to brag about numerous larger-than-life political figures that have defined and shaped today’s Democratic and Republican parties. Vastly differing Americans, with vastly differing backgrounds, living in vastly differing regions of the nation collectively appear to be divided almost equally – at least judging by the results of recent major elections during which the electorate split near evenly between liberal Democratic principles and more conservative Republican ideology. A review of the major issues of the day clearly demonstrates this divide; a nation split almost evenly and debating the key issues of the day in a fashion that likely would please our Founding Fathers.