Massachusetts lawmakers this week voted to ban the use of facial recognition by law enforcement and public agencies in a sweeping police reform bill that received significant bipartisan support. If signed into law, Massachusetts would become the first state to fully ban the technology, following bans barring the use of facial recognition in police body cameras and other, more limited city-specific bans on the tech.
The bill, S.2963, marks yet another state government tackling the thorny ethical issue of unregulated facial recognition use in the absence of any federal guidance from Congress. It also includes bans on chokeholds and rubber bullets in addition to restrictions on tear gas and other crowd-control weapons, as reported by TechCrunch. It isn’t a blanket ban on facial recognition; police will still be able to run searches against the state’s driver’s license database but only with a