Baltimore Sun: Limiting police use of facial recognition technology gaining support in Maryland General Assembly 

February 17, 2024

“Once you allow the technologies to spread for law enforcement use, you’re inevitably going to head down the path where it’s abused by law enforcement,” said Jeramie Scott, senior counsel and director of the Project on Surveillance Oversight at the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a nonprofit research and advocacy group. “Barring a ban, a moratorium, law enforcement’s use of facial recognition should be highly, highly regulated and highly restricted.” 

…Scott, of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, said Maryland’s plan is lacking in a number of other areas. One focus, he said, should be on addressing facial recognition algorithm bias issues that, when combined with law enforcement’s history of disproportionately targeting minority communities, could exacerbate inequalities in the criminal justice system. 

“The technology hasn’t been proven to be reliable as an investigative tool,” Scott said. “Knowing that facial recognition is a very powerful and pervasive surveillance tool, moving toward widespread law enforcement’s use inevitably puts us in a position where our democratic values and constitutional rights will be undermined by this technology.” 

The bill could have stronger protections, for instance, by attempting to ensure that facial recognition algorithms do not have biases, making sure “bias from human review” is addressed with ongoing training, and requiring the specific disclosure of communities that are being targeted with the technology most often. 

The list of crimes allowed for using facial recognition may also be too broad, allowing for a “potential loophole for uses that could be problematic,” Scott said. 

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