California Legislature Votes to Ban Facial Recognition in Police Body Cameras

California Legislature Votes to Ban Facial Recognition in Police Body Cameras

While the bill would ban facial recognition software from body cameras, law enforcement are not banned from using it in other cameras.

The California state legislature voted Thursday to send a bill temporarily banning facial recognition software in law enforcement body cameras to the governor’s desk, becoming the third state to do so. Outside of Oregon and New Hampshire, which have similar laws in place, two California cities, San Francisco and Oakland, already adopted similar measures this summer.

Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, must decide on whether he will sign the bill, commonly referred to as the Body Camera Accountability Act, into law by Oct. 13. If he does, the measure will go into effect in January.

The bill bans biometric surveillance technology in cameras as well as the practice of taking body camera footage and running it through facial recognition software at a later time. However, state and local police are not banned from using the technology on other cameras, including stationary ones, and federal agencies are not banned from using the software in California.

As facial recognition software becomes more common, there has been growing pushback from advocacy groups arguing that the unregulated use of the tech by law enforcement and government agencies could violate privacy rights.

Last month, the ACLU of California, which cosponsored the bill with Assemblymember Phil Ting, released a study finding that facial recognition software mistook about one in five California legislators as criminals in a law enforcement database. Other studies have found that the software makes more errors when it comes to accurately identifying women and people of color.

Ting said that no law enforcement officers in the state are using body cameras with the software right now. His measure aims to stop the practice before it can take off among local and state agencies.

"We wanted to introduce legislation before it became a major issue,” he told reporters during a Thursday call. “This is not just a California concern, this is a national concern, people have really … been much more sensitive to their privacy recently.”

Some law enforcement groups oppose the bill, including the California State Sheriffs’ Association. Cory Salzillo, the organization’s legislative director, told CNN Business that the bill, which will last for three years, is concerning because it removes a tool for law enforcement to find and track criminals.

"Even a temporary ban on the use of facial recognition could limit law enforcement's efficacy and limit its ability to fight crime and prevent crime," Salzillo said.

Matt Cagle, the technology and civil liberties attorney for the ACLU and a public critic of facial recognition software, said that face-scanning police body cameras do not belong on the streets because they could be used for dragnet surveillance of people going about their private lives.

"With this bill, California is poised to become one of the first states in the country to prevent its residents from becoming test subjects for an invasive tracking technology proven to be fundamentally incompatible with civil liberties and human rights," Cagle said in a statement. "Other states should follow suit."

 

About the Author

Haley Samsel is an Associate Content Editor for the Infrastructure Solutions Group at 1105 Media.

Featured

  • ASIS International and SIA Release “Complexities in the Global Security Market: 2024 Through 2026”

    ASIS International and the Security Industry Association (SIA) – the leading security associations for the security industry – have released ”Complexities in the Global Security Market: 2024 Through 2026”, a new research report that provides insights into the equipment, technologies, and employment of the global security industry, including regional market breakouts. SIA and ASIS partnered with global analytics and advisory firm Omdia to complete the research. Read Now

  • President Biden Issues Executive Order to Bolster U.S Port Cybersecurity

    On Wednesday, President Biden issued an Executive Order to bolster the security of the nation’s ports, alongside a series of additional actions that will strengthen maritime cybersecurity and more Read Now

  • Report: 15 Percent of All Emails Sent in 2023 Were Malicious

    VIPRE Security Group recently released its report titled “Email Security in 2024: An Expert Look at Email-Based Threats”. The 2024 predictions for email security in this report are based on an analysis of over 7 billion emails processed by VIPRE worldwide during 2023. This equates to almost one email for everyone on the planet. Of those, roughly 1 billion (or 15%) were malicious. Read Now

  • ASIS Announces ANSI-Approved Cannabis Security Standard

    ASIS International, a leading authority in security standards and guidelines, proudly announces the release of a pioneering American National Standards Institute (ANSI)-approved standard dedicated to cannabis security. This best-in-class standard, meticulously developed by industry experts, sets a new benchmark by providing comprehensive requirements and guidance for the design, implementation, monitoring, evaluation, and maintenance of a cannabis security program. Read Now

Featured Cybersecurity

Whitepapers

New Products

  • AC Nio

    AC Nio

    Aiphone, a leading international manufacturer of intercom, access control, and emergency communication products, has introduced the AC Nio, its access control management software, an important addition to its new line of access control solutions. 3

  • PE80 Series

    PE80 Series by SARGENT / ED4000/PED5000 Series by Corbin Russwin

    ASSA ABLOY, a global leader in access solutions, has announced the launch of two next generation exit devices from long-standing leaders in the premium exit device market: the PE80 Series by SARGENT and the PED4000/PED5000 Series by Corbin Russwin. These new exit devices boast industry-first features that are specifically designed to provide enhanced safety, security and convenience, setting new standards for exit solutions. The SARGENT PE80 and Corbin Russwin PED4000/PED5000 Series exit devices are engineered to meet the ever-evolving needs of modern buildings. Featuring the high strength, security and durability that ASSA ABLOY is known for, the new exit devices deliver several innovative, industry-first features in addition to elegant design finishes for every opening. 3

  • EasyGate SPT and SPD

    EasyGate SPT SPD

    Security solutions do not have to be ordinary, let alone unattractive. Having renewed their best-selling speed gates, Cominfo has once again demonstrated their Art of Security philosophy in practice — and confirmed their position as an industry-leading manufacturers of premium speed gates and turnstiles. 3