Washington State Legislators Pass Bill Blocking Use Of Facial Recognition Tech Without A Warrant

from the over-the-sobbing-of-law-enforcement-agencies dept

We all like a good facial recognition ban, and the state of Washington is the latest to (sort of) tee one up.

The Washington state legislature passed a bill establishing new guardrails on government use of facial recognition software.

The bill cleared both chambers of the state legislature Thursday, hours before the session ended, positioning Washington as one of the first states in the nation to regulate facial recognition, a key component in the larger legal debate over artificial intelligence. The bill now awaits Gov. Jay Inslee’s signature.

Unfortunately, it's not a true ban. But it lays down a set of guidelines that will at least control its use by state agencies. The bill [PDF] requires regular reporting on use and intermittent testing for "fairness and accuracy." It also introduces something most states haven't: a warrant requirement for facial recognition use. This means facial recognition tech can't be an "always on" option for law enforcement.

The bill recognizes the threat facial recognition tech poses to the public.

Unconstrained use of facial recognition services by state and local government agencies poses broad social ramifications that should be considered and addressed. Accordingly, legislation is required to establish safeguards that will allow state and local government agencies to use facial recognition services in a manner that benefits society while prohibiting uses that threaten our democratic freedoms and put our civil liberties at risk.

It also mandates the development of data retention policies and the implementation of reporting and controls of other, non-state agency use of facial recognition tech owned by state entities. State agencies are also required to deliver the equivalent of Privacy Impact Assessments for any tech deployed.

A description of any potential impacts of the facial recognition service on civil rights and liberties, including potential impacts to privacy and potential disparate impacts on marginalized communities, and the specific steps the agency will take to mitigate the potential impacts and prevent unauthorized use of the facial recognition service.

While an outright ban (or at least a moratorium) would have been preferable, this is a positive development. It shows legislators recognize the multiple issues this tech poses and its tendency to exacerbate existing inequality problems by being seemingly incapable of accurately identifying anything other than white males.

If this bill becomes law, Washington will join a handful of cities (and one state!) around the country taking measures to protect residents from unproven tech that is swiftly becoming ubiquitous. Facial recognition tech is no longer the latest "rule of law" darling. It's increasingly being viewed as a threat to civil liberties -- not just by privacy advocates/activists, but by the people who actually can prevent their constituents from the steady creep of government surveillance.

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Filed Under: 4th amendment, facial recognition, law enforcement, warrants, washington

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  1. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    Andrea Iravani, 25 Mar 2020 @ 2:00pm

    This is a financial problem that we must not allow to turn into a health problem! 

    $640 trillion in derivatives might be a clue that the math is off!
    Anoth clue that the math might be off is that Market Capitalization to GDP ratio went from the ridiculously high 110% at the end of 2016 to the insanity on hallicinogenics of 155% at the end of 2019, growing by 29% while GDP grew 2.25% during the same time frame. Another clue that the math might be off is that less than a dozen publicly traded companies now use GAAP. Another clue that the math might be off is the fractional reserve system itself! 

    Another clue that the math might be off is that the QE under Obama which led to zero interest rates caused a pension crisis, particularly for the federal, state, and local government employees whose pension plans suffered as a result of not earning interest and attempted to make up for the shortfalls through investing in risky stocks, explaining the sky high valuations. It had nothing to do with reality, and everything to do with refusing to admit that the entire economy is based on outright fraud! Until that is addressed, and the guilty parties are held responsible, the problems will only get worse! That is just the reality, and the reality is based on math!

    In 2002, Rockefeller suggested that the U.S. "prepare" for a pandemic, and so did Bill Gates and other Davos World members with Event 201 and ID2020.

    Israeli intelligence "warned" that there will likely be interference and terrorist acts that will interfere with the 2020 election, the same way that Netenyahu "warned" that the World Trade Towers "might" be attacked by "radical Islamic extremists" a couple of years prior to the controlled demolition of the World Trade Towers and attack on the defenseless, surveillanceless Pentagon, and the dancing Israelis.

    For the first time in income tax history, the government has delayed income taxes to protect their co-conspirators, the high rolling banksters who have once again gambled away customers assets since the repeal of Glass Steagall and the Graham Leach Bliley Act made it possible, in addition to the repeal of blue sky laws for tech start-ups in 1993 that was responsible for creating the Orwellian surveillance nightmare  on Main Street world that we now are forced to live in.

    The CDC shut down the Fort Detrick Bio-weapons lab in March of 2019 for failure to prevent repeated pathogen leaks. In October of 2019, the U.S. military participated in the Wuhan Military Games. The military has had a repeated history of using illegal and unethical medical practices on the military, veterans, and the general public. Gulf War Syndrome is proof that there still a tremendous amount of secrecy that has endangered veterans lives that the military is unwilling to admit to!

    I have never been to China, but as far as unclean eating habits are concerned, the U.S. homeless population dumpster dives and state and local governments have prohibited and shut down churches, charities, and businesses for feeding the homeless. So, yes, that definitely should be addressed for the sake of public health! BTW, imprisoning the homeless for dumpster diving is not the solution!

    San Antonio Texas has the world's largest bat cave population with 15 million Mexican free tailed bats, hosting tours and hikes at the Backen Bat Cave purchased by Bat Conservation International.

    Logic would place this as ground zero for the corona viruses that have been occuring in this country and throughout the world, then transported to Fort Detrick Bio-weapons lab to be used for population control in an act of domestic and international terrorism to prevent the spread of the truth about the fourth financial fraud induced economic collapse in 33 years.


    The Mexican free tailed bat is also referred to as the Brazillian free tailed bat. It was discovered in 2017 that the  species has had coronavirus A. Also worth noting is that coronavirus has not been detected in European or Asian bats.


    The Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 prohibits the military from surveilling Americans as well as engaging in law enforcement on Americans.

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