A bill introduced Thursday in Congress would impose a “moratorium” on the federal government for using or taking data from any biometric surveillance system, such as facial recognition software. While providing exceptions, the bill, introduced by Sens. Ed Markey (D-MA) and Jeff Merkeley (D-OR) and Reps. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), would also prevent police departments receiving federal law-enforcement grant money from using facial recognition. Facial recognition and other biometric surveillance exacerbates institutional racism in policing. Robert Williams, a Black resident of Michigan, recently detailed his arrest after police facial-recognition programs mismatched his old drivers-license photo with surveillance imagery of a watch thief. “This inherently oppressive technology cannot be reformed or regulated. It should be abolished,” said Evan Greer, deputy director of civil-rights group Fight For The Future.
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