Facial recognition will only make this crisis worse

Every decision we make during this crisis matters; these choices will define our lives for decades to come. Just as the horror of 9/11 was exploited to justify greater suspicion and spying, the current pandemic is providing cover for unnecessary new intrusions on our rights and liberties.

That’s why we’re mobilizing to stop a dangerous facial recognition bill making its way through the California legislature.

Let’s be clear, facial recognition will not make us safer. This dangerous technology is built on the back of a racist criminal justice system. Law enforcement is already using facial recognition to target people of color, while ICE uses it to deport our loved ones. Facial recognition is also used to oppress religious minorities and discourage free expression. In the midst of this public health crisis, facial recognition can only magnify COVID-19’s harms.

AB 2261 was written by Big Tech, for Big Tech. This bill is a clear invitation to tech companies and law enforcement to double-down on their intention to expand the use of face recognition technology against the people of California. It allows private companies and government agencies to deploy face recognition technology without any real restrictions.

At a time when so many of us are struggling to get by, this bill invites companies to use face scans to deny people jobs, financial services, health care, and even basic necessities. It would provide workers with no significant recourse if their employers use face recognition to scan, identify, or track them in the workplace. AB 2261 would also permit companies to sell face recognition technology even when they know their tech to be flawed and racially biased.

AB 2261 will face a critical hearing in the Assembly Appropriations Committee. Send a clear message to your legislators that facial recognition has no place in California’s COVID-19 response.

Message Recipient:
California State Assembly

Stop AB 2261
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Your Message

I am one of the 82% of California voters who oppose private companies and the government being able to monitor and track me using my face. AB 2261 greenlights the spread of facial recognition systems that threaten my safety, my health, and my civil liberties.

I am concerned that AB 2261 will harm my economic stability. Face recognition technology can be used to refuse a person a job, deny them a loan, charge them more for insurance, and even refuse them access to an essential business like a grocery store. AB 2261 does nothing to protect us from these types of economic discrimination - instead, the bill invites illegal discrimination by allowing businesses to secretly log and scan our faces without our consent.

AB 2261 poses a unique threat to people of color, low income Californians, and essential workers – members of our community who are already uniquely burdened by this devastating public health crisis. Under AB 2261, companies would be allowed to peddle face recognition technology that they know to be racially biased. All they would need to do to bypass the bill’s requirement was acknowledge their technology had an issue.

AB 2261 would force essential workers to make an impossible choice between their paycheck and their civil liberties. This bill gives workers no recourse if their employers use invasive on-the-job face surveillance to track them in the workplace. AB 2261 leaves Californians unprotected from massive corporations like Amazon or Uber that might want to use face recognition to enforce draconian policies on their frontline workers.

California should invest in solutions that create new economic opportunities for all, rather than policies that will exacerbate economic insecurity and needlessly sacrifice our rights and safety at this critical time.

I hope you will join me in opposing AB 2261.


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