In the near future, Massachusetts may go down in history as the very first state that officially introduced a ban on the use of a variety of face recognition technologies by all law enforcement agencies. Deputies of the House of Representatives and the Senate have already approved a bill on the next police reform, which in turn prohibits police departments and other government agencies from using face recognition systems. As noted by the authoritative edition of Forbes, this bill will have some exceptions.
For example, police officers will be able to get a warrant for the use of facial recognition technologies against car thieves. Officers can also write a request for the use of technology if they can provide evidence that it is necessary to prevent serious injury or even death. It should also be mentioned that, in addition to banning the use of facial recognition tools, the new police reform bill also prohibits police officers from using absolutely any suffocating grips along with rubber bullets.
Moreover, police officers will be prohibited from using tear gas together with other chemicals. However, again, there will also be an exception here, because if necessary, the police will be able to obtain permission to use the same tear gas. It is noteworthy that some cities in the United States of America have already managed to introduce similar bans on the use of facial recognition technologies in recent years. For example, San Francisco became the first city to introduce this ban back in May 2019. San Francisco was followed by Somerville, Massachusetts and Oakland, California. Boston banned facial recognition technologies back in June, and Portland, Maine, followed only in November this year.
However, the rules of Massachusetts are still much stricter, because they prohibit the use of facial recognition technologies exclusively by law enforcement agencies and government officials, and they do it extremely strictly. Back in September of this year, officials in Portland, Oregon, imposed the strictest municipal facial recognition ban in the country so far, preventing even private companies from using the technology in public places. However, now Massachusetts is in the first place in terms of rigor.