California Should Block Facial Recognition Bill, Says Leading Tech Policy Think Tank

September 11, 2019

WASHINGTON—In response to a vote in the California State Senate to pass legislation making it illegal for law enforcement to use facial recognition technology in officer-worn body cameras, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), the world’s leading think tank for science and technology policy, released the following statement from ITIF Vice President Daniel Castro:

The Senate’s vote today is a step in the wrong direction and will leave California communities worse off. Banning facial recognition technology eliminates a useful tool for law enforcement that could help increase police accountability and prevent racial profiling. It will also undermine other benefits, such as identifying victims of human trafficking, lost or abducted children, and missing elderly individuals. Further, humans misidentify individuals at a higher rate than computers. Banning facial recognition means more people will be misidentified by police. Instead of banning facial recognition technology, California policymakers should create guardrails to prevent potential abuses. If the legislation passes a final vote in the Assembly, Governor Newsom should veto it.

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