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Americans Want Facial Recognition Use By Law Enforcement Improved, But Not Banned

Today, NetChoice released a poll regarding how the public feels about law enforcement’s use of facial recognition. The polling asked respondents about if and when they were comfortable with law enforcement using facial recognition as well as their views on a ban on law enforcement’s use of facial recognition.

“Americans want state and local governments to work with law enforcement to improve the use of facial recognition (83%) rather than ban the technology (17%),” said Carl Szabo, Vice President and General Counsel at NetChoice. “The vast majority of Americans support law enforcement’s use of facial recognition technology for a variety of reasons, including locating missing children, identifying predators, and to secure government facilities.”

“Americans want law enforcement to have access to facial recognition technology, but recognize the importance of reasonable regulations on use.”

Other toplines from the poll include:

  • If the public is concerned about a new tool being used by law enforcement, such as facial recognition, 65% want the government to pass laws to regulate its use, 22% support law-enforcement self-regulation, and only 13% say ban it.
  • 60% of Americans think facial recognition is a useful tool for lead generation.
  • 76% support schools using facial recognition technology to identify known child predators before they enter school grounds — only 11% said they don’t.
  • 74% support law enforcement using facial recognition technology to help find a missing senior citizen with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, or another mental disability — only 12% said they don’t.
  • 76% think law enforcement should be able to use facial recognition technology to locate terrorists during an active terrorist attack — only 10% said they should not be able to.
  • 76% support requiring law enforcement to be trained on the proper use of and risks when using facial recognition technology.

About the Survey: From September 4-8, 2020, Savanta Research conducted an interactive survey of 1,018 adults focused on law enforcement’s use of facial recognition technology. The survey was commissioned by NetChoice. More information can be found at