Maine Becomes First State to Enact Statewide Ban on Face Surveillance
June 30, 2021
The Maine Legislature has enacted the country's strongest statewide facial recognition law. Maine's new law prohibits public officials and public employees at the state, county and municipal levels from possessing and using facial recognition technology, with extremely limited exceptions. The Maine law includes a private right of action, meaning that individuals may bring a lawsuit if they believe a government agency or official has violated the law. EPIC Board Member Shoshana Zuboff testified in support of the legislation. "An individual’s ability to control access to his or her identity and personal information, including determining when, how, and to what purpose these are revealed, is an essential aspect of personal security and privacy guaranteed by the Bill of Rights," Professor Zuboff said. "The use of facial recognition technology erodes that ability." EPIC has joined a number of coalitions urging a ban on facial recognition including: an international letter opposing the technology, a statement of concerns on police use of FR, and EPIC's Ban Face Surveillance campaign. EPIC recently endorsed legislation that would ban federal law enforcement use of facial recognition and pressure state law enforcement to do the same.