Massachusetts lawmakers are considering a bill that would make it extremely difficult for investigators to use facial recognition in criminal cases.
Proposed changes include creating a centralized statewide office staffed by people trained on the software’s vulnerabilities, to which local police departments can submit requests. Such a restriction would likely delay results for weeks if not months.
Another part of the proposed law would prohibit using facial recognition without a warrant. This would likely end the use of the tool for developing leads and make it almost useless in criminal investigations.
“We want to avoid fishing expeditions in which you put in an image of somebody and start searching for a match,” UMass Amherst computer science professor Erik Learned-Miller told WGBH. “You want to have a warrant that says there's probable cause to believe that this particular individual may be involved in a crime. … Those kinds of basic rights that would prevent this from being overused, just the way we don't allow surveillance to be done on people that are not suspected of a crime.”