A similar restriction on law enforcement’s use of facial recognition could be enacted in Massachusetts, but trade association NetChoice has launched a campaign urging state lawmakers to reject a proposed moratorium.
A poll conducted by Savanta for NetChoice in August shows that 64 percent of Massachusetts residents believe facial recognition can make society safer, and 66 percent are against denying law enforcement the use of new technologies to fight crime. When asked if facial recognition should be limited even at the expense of public safety, 46 percent disagreed, while 34 percent agreed. In each case responses are split between “somewhat” and “strong” agreement and disagreement. Asked if they would support a politician that votes to prevent the use of facial recognition and other technologies by law enforcement, 22 percent said they would be more likely to, while 41 percent said they would be less likely to do so.
A recent survey from the Pew Research Center shows a majority of U.S. adults trust law enforcement to use facial recognition.
NetChoice has launched a petition calling on the proposal to be rejected as part of its campaign.
“Every day facial recognition technologies help law enforcement to generate leads in cases, such as homicide, rape, armed robbery and other violent crime, as well as for non-enforcement reasons, including identifying elderly persons stricken with dementia, finding lost and missing children, identifying homeless persons with mental illness and identifying deceased persons,” said NetChoice Vice President and General Counsel Carl Szabo in a statement by the organization.
“A moratorium on facial recognition technology not only goes against what Bay Staters want, it denies law enforcement tools needed to help keep our communities safe.”
Szabo has previously expressed at least tentative support for regulation aimed at increasing transparency around business use of facial biometrics in New York City.