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.
California State Assembly