Washington State Legislators Pass Bill Blocking Use Of Facial Recognition Tech Without A Warrant

from the over-the-sobbing-of-law-enforcement-agencies dept

We all like a good facial recognition ban, and the state of Washington is the latest to (sort of) tee one up.

The Washington state legislature passed a bill establishing new guardrails on government use of facial recognition software.

The bill cleared both chambers of the state legislature Thursday, hours before the session ended, positioning Washington as one of the first states in the nation to regulate facial recognition, a key component in the larger legal debate over artificial intelligence. The bill now awaits Gov. Jay Inslee’s signature.

Unfortunately, it's not a true ban. But it lays down a set of guidelines that will at least control its use by state agencies. The bill [PDF] requires regular reporting on use and intermittent testing for "fairness and accuracy." It also introduces something most states haven't: a warrant requirement for facial recognition use. This means facial recognition tech can't be an "always on" option for law enforcement.

The bill recognizes the threat facial recognition tech poses to the public.

Unconstrained use of facial recognition services by state and local government agencies poses broad social ramifications that should be considered and addressed. Accordingly, legislation is required to establish safeguards that will allow state and local government agencies to use facial recognition services in a manner that benefits society while prohibiting uses that threaten our democratic freedoms and put our civil liberties at risk.

It also mandates the development of data retention policies and the implementation of reporting and controls of other, non-state agency use of facial recognition tech owned by state entities. State agencies are also required to deliver the equivalent of Privacy Impact Assessments for any tech deployed.

A description of any potential impacts of the facial recognition service on civil rights and liberties, including potential impacts to privacy and potential disparate impacts on marginalized communities, and the specific steps the agency will take to mitigate the potential impacts and prevent unauthorized use of the facial recognition service.

While an outright ban (or at least a moratorium) would have been preferable, this is a positive development. It shows legislators recognize the multiple issues this tech poses and its tendency to exacerbate existing inequality problems by being seemingly incapable of accurately identifying anything other than white males.

If this bill becomes law, Washington will join a handful of cities (and one state!) around the country taking measures to protect residents from unproven tech that is swiftly becoming ubiquitous. Facial recognition tech is no longer the latest "rule of law" darling. It's increasingly being viewed as a threat to civil liberties -- not just by privacy advocates/activists, but by the people who actually can prevent their constituents from the steady creep of government surveillance.

Filed Under: 4th amendment, facial recognition, law enforcement, warrants, washington


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • icon
    Samuel Abram (profile), 25 Mar 2020 @ 12:05pm

    I'm okay with this.

    I'm okay with this, because they at least need to get a warrant for the facial surveillance tech. Just one thing though: how will the warrant process ensue to use such a facial match software?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 25 Mar 2020 @ 12:19pm

    How about some guidelines?

    "It also mandates the development of data retention policies and the implementation of reporting and controls of other, non-state agency use of facial recognition tech owned by state entities."

    I like this, but I think they should have included some guidelines, or different agencies will choose different retention policies creating a difficulty in understanding what the rules are, and possibly create some overlaps.

    As to non-state agencies, it should not matter whether the tech is owned by state entities or not, the same rules should apply, otherwise it will just be another vector for parallel construction, and those retention rules should apply to them as well.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 26 Mar 2020 @ 6:11am

      Re: How about some guidelines?

      "I like this, but I think they should have included some guidelines..."

      Indeed. And those guidelines will be restrictions which will be hard not to see fulfilled as long as the "proper" type of person (someone like Bill Barr, or even just a beat cop) is capable of ticking a box.

      Call me a cynic but I'm pretty sure this is a way of saying "Look, we've got the safety of the public in mind" while mainly making most unwarranted uses of the tech completely legitimate.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Andrea Iravani, 25 Mar 2020 @ 2:00pm

    This is a financial problem that we must not allow to turn into a health problem! 

    $640 trillion in derivatives might be a clue that the math is off!
    Anoth clue that the math might be off is that Market Capitalization to GDP ratio went from the ridiculously high 110% at the end of 2016 to the insanity on hallicinogenics of 155% at the end of 2019, growing by 29% while GDP grew 2.25% during the same time frame. Another clue that the math might be off is that less than a dozen publicly traded companies now use GAAP. Another clue that the math might be off is the fractional reserve system itself! 

    Another clue that the math might be off is that the QE under Obama which led to zero interest rates caused a pension crisis, particularly for the federal, state, and local government employees whose pension plans suffered as a result of not earning interest and attempted to make up for the shortfalls through investing in risky stocks, explaining the sky high valuations. It had nothing to do with reality, and everything to do with refusing to admit that the entire economy is based on outright fraud! Until that is addressed, and the guilty parties are held responsible, the problems will only get worse! That is just the reality, and the reality is based on math!

    In 2002, Rockefeller suggested that the U.S. "prepare" for a pandemic, and so did Bill Gates and other Davos World members with Event 201 and ID2020.

    Israeli intelligence "warned" that there will likely be interference and terrorist acts that will interfere with the 2020 election, the same way that Netenyahu "warned" that the World Trade Towers "might" be attacked by "radical Islamic extremists" a couple of years prior to the controlled demolition of the World Trade Towers and attack on the defenseless, surveillanceless Pentagon, and the dancing Israelis.

    For the first time in income tax history, the government has delayed income taxes to protect their co-conspirators, the high rolling banksters who have once again gambled away customers assets since the repeal of Glass Steagall and the Graham Leach Bliley Act made it possible, in addition to the repeal of blue sky laws for tech start-ups in 1993 that was responsible for creating the Orwellian surveillance nightmare  on Main Street world that we now are forced to live in.

    The CDC shut down the Fort Detrick Bio-weapons lab in March of 2019 for failure to prevent repeated pathogen leaks. In October of 2019, the U.S. military participated in the Wuhan Military Games. The military has had a repeated history of using illegal and unethical medical practices on the military, veterans, and the general public. Gulf War Syndrome is proof that there still a tremendous amount of secrecy that has endangered veterans lives that the military is unwilling to admit to!

    I have never been to China, but as far as unclean eating habits are concerned, the U.S. homeless population dumpster dives and state and local governments have prohibited and shut down churches, charities, and businesses for feeding the homeless. So, yes, that definitely should be addressed for the sake of public health! BTW, imprisoning the homeless for dumpster diving is not the solution!

    San Antonio Texas has the world's largest bat cave population with 15 million Mexican free tailed bats, hosting tours and hikes at the Backen Bat Cave purchased by Bat Conservation International.

    Logic would place this as ground zero for the corona viruses that have been occuring in this country and throughout the world, then transported to Fort Detrick Bio-weapons lab to be used for population control in an act of domestic and international terrorism to prevent the spread of the truth about the fourth financial fraud induced economic collapse in 33 years.

    http://www.batcon.org/

    The Mexican free tailed bat is also referred to as the Brazillian free tailed bat. It was discovered in 2017 that the  species has had coronavirus A. Also worth noting is that coronavirus has not been detected in European or Asian bats.

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5456339/?report=classic

    The Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 prohibits the military from surveilling Americans as well as engaging in law enforcement on Americans.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Mar 2020 @ 2:43pm

      Re:

      Shut the fuck up already.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        ROGueS, 27 Mar 2020 @ 11:25am

        Re: Re:

        Bag of dicks.

        You.

        Harmony, as it whacks your (speech suppressing)face.

        You: Wow! Dicks!

        quote unquote: Numnumnumnumnumnumnum, numnumnumnumnum, numnumnumnum, numnumnumnum....

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Andrea Iravani, 25 Mar 2020 @ 3:03pm

      Re:

      How was it that the NCMI failed to see this coming?! Bat shit crazy! Guess that is what happens when you start playing with guano!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 26 Mar 2020 @ 6:36am

      Re:

      "$640 trillion in derivatives might be a clue that the math is off!"

      There are no "clues" the math is off. Factual reality is enough. There is, much thanks to shadow banking and bank overlending, way more money (counting debts and bonds) in circulation than actually exists in the US. This is why the crash of 2008, when the banks put a dead stop on lending, major corporations had to beg for bailouts of face bankruptcy - liquid capital no longer exists, in reality.

      "Another clue that the math might be off is that the QE under Obama which led to zero interest rates caused a pension crisis..."

      No, the "pension crisis" - and indeed, the entire fiscal collapse shit-show can most clearly be derived from Bill Clinton opening the shadow banking floodgates - but at best that would just be shooting the messenger because the real fault lies with the general US unwillingness to force banks to actually possess the money they lend out.

      "In 2002, Rockefeller suggested that the U.S. "prepare" for a pandemic..."

      Everyone did. Doctors, epidemiologists, biologists, etc. The western world has been statistically due for a whopper of a pandemic for years. And it didn't take Rockefeller to sound the alert which no one listened to...except when the same advice came from a sufficiently wealthy person, of course.

      "Israeli intelligence "warned" that there will likely be interference and terrorist acts that will interfere with the 2020 election..."

      Every intelligence agency in the world has suggested that there would be terrorist activity around US elections. They do this every time. Some day that broken clock will be right and some McVey-wannabe will blow himself up.

      "The CDC shut down the Fort Detrick Bio-weapons lab in March of 2019 for failure to prevent repeated pathogen leaks. In October of 2019, the U.S. military participated in the Wuhan Military Games. The military has had a repeated history of using illegal and unethical medical practices on the military..."

      Even if true that has no bearing on SARS-CoV-2 which isn't a manufactured virus, and bioweapons in general are the weapons of madmen and fanatics because they are not controllable. As in "This shit could kill the operator and order-giver as easily as the presumed target".

      "Logic would place this as ground zero for the corona viruses that have been occuring in this country and throughout the world"

      Except it's not. You'd think a few thousand epidemiologists from a hundred different countries would have seen the dispersal vector easily enough if that was the case. It's not.

      "It was discovered in 2017 that the species has had coronavirus A."

      Yes, and? Animals regularly carry virii and microorganisms which, were they capable of leaping the species barrier, would be devastating. This actually happening is very rare. When it DOES happen we get stuff like Ebola and SARS. Since Coronavirus A is NOT SARS-CoV-2 it's completely irrelevant. What you are saying makes as little sense as claiming that someone is running a cold fusion reactor because you've seen them drinking water.

      "The Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 prohibits the military from surveilling Americans as well as engaging in law enforcement on Americans."

      Which is why there's the FBI, DEA, ATF, NSA, TIA, etc, etc to do all the surveillance so the military can partake of the results.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 26 Mar 2020 @ 6:45am

        Re: Re:

        As an add-on to this repetitive "American bats are the source" nonsense. It's neither logical, nor reasonable - and the dispersion of SARS-CoV-2 quite clearly puts the origin to no where else than Wuhan, China.

        And the reason, which any biologist knows, that China is the source of so many zoonoses, is extremely clear.
        Nowhere else do you have such a massive amount of small farmsteads running the traditional chinese closed-ecology method of farming which, albeit very effective at feeding small families, has the undesirable consequence of forcing humans and birds into extreme proximity, with pigs as an intermediate to facilitate the emergence of new zoonoses.

        EVERY evidence and indicator points nowhere other than at China.

        Any hypothesis that it's a US bioweapon must first not only clear a number of logical hurdles in the form of factual hard evidence to the contrary but must also pass the logical treshold of the US military being moronic enough to risk starting World War 3 - because a bioweapon is classed as a casus belli sufficient for a full nuclear exchange.

        So unless you've got your hypothesis linked to a good reason as to why the US military would want China and the US to be in a full, heated, thermonuclear exchange with China given the reason to launch the first strike...then what you've got is nonsense.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          ROGueS, 27 Mar 2020 @ 11:49am

          Re: Re: Re: Scary Devil Monastery, replying to itself

          You do realize that you replied to YOURSELF in th posts above, right?

          Easy on the honey wine, or whatever you alleged Nordics are using up their to make your

          reply to self

          comments bearable.

          Close d-ecology, blah blah blah, bioweapon, blah blah blah (zero evidence of your conspiracy anywhere) blah blah blah

          Fucking CHINA!!!!!

          My money is on the International Police Games in Chengdu, or the Wuhan Military Charade of Reciprocity last year, but I allow that I could be wrong, Claus.

          (all caps BLAH BLAH BLAH,,,)

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Mar 2020 @ 2:47pm

    What does that mean?

    The bill [PDF] requires ... intermittent testing for "fairness and accuracy."

    What are the benchmarks for "fair" and "accurate"? I dare say no facial recognition tech in existence today would meet either criterion, if proper criteria are used.

    And for what reason would a judge issue a warrant for the use of facial recognition? Can you get a warrant for a blanket scan of everyone within the camera's range, thus searching potentially many innocent or otherwise uninvolved bystanders? What is to stop them from getting a single warrant that lasts damn near forever or a chain of warrants to continue to operate uninterrupted?

    This all sounds great but I don't think this bill will get us very far down the path of freedom and liberty.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Mar 2020 @ 9:25am

      Re: What does that mean?

      A warrant implies an actual suspected crime at least. If it is treated appropriate to the accuracy getting it to match up with a suspect robbing a liquor store would be a fair use - one which would require due dilligence and collaboration. The algorithim says Bob Smith but he was at work all day? Clearly not him.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    DannyB (profile), 26 Mar 2020 @ 6:27am

    Slippery Slope

    So now a warrant is required for facial recognition tech.

    OMG, there is a new crisis of somethingorother. We need to deploy facial recognition tech at these specific locations, looking for these specific individuals. Warrant granted!

    Now this just set a precedent. Next time it becomes easier to get a warrant to apply mass facial recognition tech. Eventually it is a mere formality to get it rubber stamped by the clerk of the court.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      ROGS, 29 Mar 2020 @ 11:59am

      Re: Slippery Slope

      No, the precedent was set already.

      Back during the early aughts, they were discussing whether or not it is ethical, or good, to force entire townships of males to be forced to submit DNA because some drunken bimbo at a party claimed she was raped.

      Now, they drag the "Golden State Killer" case around to prove that the great DNA trap that they sprang via the geneology databases is an effective crime fighting tool.

      The truth is somewhere in between, but who cares?I am certain that cops knew who the GSK was anyways, but kept his identity secret because most cops are involved in that kind of creepy shit (Masonic thin blue-line bullshit and illegal activity).

      The FACT is that these "tools" are essentially a police state coup against individual rights and the Constitution, proven time and time again.

      And that, because of drunken bimbos who party naked, and then regret it the next day because they are trained like dogs to grab a ring, instead of an orgasm.

      All of that, thanks to that shitbags like John Walsh and Americas Most Wanted( hahaha I am glad your kid got killed, John Walsh. Fuck you,I hope Ottis Toole splooged on your hell-spawns corpse there in Broward County, which is ground zero for gang stalking by cops) and those who are afraid that their daughters might actually like fucking, and be responsible for their own actions while fucking for fun and sport.

      A win for police state Feminism!

      And, the children,. of course.

      Of Course!!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 26 Mar 2020 @ 12:47pm

    wont work..

    1 warrant to catch 1 person would require the System to be ALREADY BUILT AND INSTALLED..

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Close

Add A Reply

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Special Affiliate Offer

Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.