They might be the smartest species to ever walk the earth, but even such a powerful component hasn’t been able to keep human beings from making a mistake. This reality, in particular, has already popped on the surface quite a few times throughout our history, with each testimony practically forcing us to look for a defensive cover. To the world’s credit, we’ll solve the stated conundrum in the most fitting way possible, and we’ll do so by bringing dedicated regulatory bodies into the fold. You see, having a well-defined authority across each and every area was a game-changer, as it instantly concealed our many shortcomings, and consequentially, gave us a shot at all those possibilities that we would usually deem to be a little too far-fetched. Nevertheless, the stated utopia will soon dissipate into thin air, and if we are being honest, it was very much because of technology. Technology deserves the ultimate blame here for reasons that are largely predicated upon its layered nature, nature which notably allowed everyone a chance to exploit others for their own benefit. In case this didn’t sound bad enough, the whole runner soon began to materialize on such a massive scale that it expectantly overwhelmed our governing forces and sent them back to the drawing board. After a long time in the wilderness, though, it seems like the regulatory contingent is finally ready to make a comeback. The same has only turned more and more evident over the recent past, and a new bill might just end up doing a lot to keep this trend alive.
A group of House Democrats has formally unveiled a new bill, which is designed to limit the use of facial recognition technology by US law enforcement agencies. Named as the Facial Recognition Act, the bill makes it mandatory for the said agencies to acquire a judge-authorized warrant for using facial recognition technology in any prosecutorial circumstances. Furthermore, it will require them to test and audit their relevant systems on an annual basis, while also providing a detailed lowdown on their application of the technology across different cases. In a bid to ensure ethical use, the legislation would even get these agencies to eliminate data off all those children who were released without charge, whose charges were dismissed or the ones who were just acquitted.
The controversy around facial recognition technology has been bubbling on for a while now. This is, of course, down to its intrusive tendencies, but what if I tell you that’s not the only big problem here? Alongside being a death nail for someone’s privacy, the technology has also proven to be dangerously flawed from an accuracy standpoint. To contextualize the statement, we must acknowledge how, on several occasions, it has misidentified people of color and caused wrongful arrests.
“Facial recognition technology must not be used as an invasive, intrusive surveillance tool because, if unrestrained, this powerful technology can be misused for racial profiling, infringing on personal privacy, and vilifying people who exercise their Constitutionally protected rights, such as the right to participate in peaceful protests,” said Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), one of the bill’s co-sponsors.
The growing mutiny against facial recognition has already made San Francisco the first US state to block law enforcement agencies from using the technology, while Maine and Massachusetts have also introduced certain measures to limit its application. However, given the long list of exemptions in the latter case, the issue has remained alive. Hence, if the new legislation does go through, it will be monumental beyond all limits.