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New Legislation By Assemblymember Ting Targets Law Enforcement Use of Facial Recognition Technology To Protect Californians

For immediate release:
Ting Introduces Facial Recognition Bill

Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) introduced a bill today to set parameters on the use of Facial Recognition Technology (FRT) in California. AB 1814 prohibits law enforcement from proceeding with a search, arrest or affidavit for a warrant, based solely on an FRT match. There must be other supporting factors. AB 1814 also requires the peace officer to examine the facial recognition match with care and consider the possibility it could be inaccurate. The goal is to prevent mistaken arrests or inappropriate tracking when this public safety tool is used.

“While facial recognition technology can be helpful in solving cases, one person arrested from an incorrect match is one too many. By requiring additional evidence, we can help protect people’s privacy and due process rights,” said Ting. 

There are currently no limitations on how California’s law enforcement agencies can use FRT. Ting’s previous bill, AB 1215, temporarily banning investigators from using FRTs, expired January 2023, making it critical for the state to establish reasonable legal standards for its use among law enforcement. The Assemblymember also attempted to establish some limitations on FRT last year under AB 642, but the bill was held in committee. 

With no standards still in place, Ting is committed to imposing limits on FRT. Even though the technology has improved, it’s still not perfect. Ting believes an added safeguard is necessary and that it’s best to require at least a secondary corroboration when law enforcement gets an FRT hit. AB 1814 does not deter local governments from banning the use of this technology. 

Several states, including Vermont, Maine and Washington, have imposed limits or are considering placing some on the technology’s use. Virginia at one point banned the use of FRT, but has since retracted the law and now allows it in certain situations.

Hearings on AB 1814 are expected to begin this Spring.