Ban cops from using facial-recognition tech, lawmaker says

Facial-recognition technology is a top crime-fighting tool for police departments, including the NYPD.

But one state senator hopes to change that in New York. Sen. Brad Hoylman, a Democrat who represents parts of Manhattan, wants to either ban or at least pause law enforcement's use of the technology while it is reevaluated.

"Facial-recognition technology is, essentially, the Wild West," Hoylman said. "We have to regulate this practice, we have to regulate this new technology before it gets out of hand."

Hoylman claims that this technology is inaccurate, especially for people of color, women, transgender people, and gender non-conforming people.

The legislation that Hoylman has sponsored, Senate Bill S7572, "Prohibits the use of biometric surveillance technology by law enforcement; establishes the biometric surveillance regulation task force; and provides for the expiration and repeal of certain provisions," according to the bill's summary.

Adam Scott Wandt, an assistant professor of public policy at John Jay College, said that facial recognition use in some places, such as China, has ballooned to the point of being invasive. He said the procedures for using facial-recognition tech need to be clear, open, and transparent.

So what does the NYPD say about this bill and its potential impact on crimefighting in the city?

"We will review the language of the bill when it becomes available, but to not use technology like this would be negligent. The NYPD identifies suspects by comparing a still image from a surveillance video to a pool of lawfully possessed arrest photos and this technology helps bring justice to victims," the NYPD said in a statement emailed to FOX 5 NY. "A facial recognition match is solely a lead—no one has ever been arrested solely on the basis of a computer match, no matter how compelling."


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