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Legislative Commission on Data Practices Holds Hearing on Facial Recognition Technology

Monday, December 6, 2021

SAINT PAUL, Minn. – Last Week, the Minnesota Legislative Commission on Data Practices held a hearing on facial recognition technology broadly, and HF 1196 (Gomez), a bill to ban the use and acquisition of facial recognition technology by the government. 

“The use of facial recognition technology by government entities and private institutions has far outpaced our regulation of the technology and our full understanding of the potential benefits and consequences,” said Rep. Becker-Finn (DFL - Roseville), Chair of the Commission. “It is important that we turn a critical eye towards this evolving technology so that we can best balance safety and individual rights in future legislation. I will continue to push the discussion of this emerging issue to prioritize the rights of all Minnesotans.”

The Commission heard from several legislators, testifiers, and experts on the issue. Concerns around the ethics of governmental use of private data, biases of the software, and potential for secret abuse were brought up. The Constitutionality of the use of mass facial surveillance was brought up, along with the fact that case law on this issue is unsettled. Law enforcement representatives also testified to the benefits of facial technology and gave examples of how the technology can sometimes assist investigations.

You can find a full recording of the hearing here.

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