Dear Leaders McConnell and Schumer, Speaker Pelosi and Leader McCarthy:
The undersigned privacy, civil liberties, civil rights, and investor and faith groups write to urge you to take action to prevent the continued use and investment in face recognition technology, including by (1) passing legislation, like the Facial Recognition and Biometric Technology Moratorium Act of 2020, which would halt the use of face recognition and prevent federal funds from being used to purchase such technology, (2) stop continued federal funding of invasive and discriminatory technologies by police, including face recognition; and (3) ensure that any policing reform bill that funds body or dash cameras prohibits the use of face recognition used in conjunction with these accountability tools.
Efforts to reform policing must address the bloated and discriminatory surveillance architecture that has contributed to police abuses. As thousands gather to demonstrate and demand justice for George Floyd, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor and countless other Black people who have been killed by police, it is time Congress responds to these demands and eradicates systemic racism and tools that facilitate discriminatory policing – including face recognition technology. Indeed, the case of Robert Williams, disclosed just this week, underscores how technologies like face recognition can exacerbate existing police abuses and result in improper arrest, detention, or even worse.
Read more from this letter, and a full list of signatories, here.