Maine, USA enacts regulations for facial surveillance systems

The legislature of the state of Maine, USA, has passed a law that introduces strict regulations for the use of facial surveillance systems by public authorities. The law defines facial surveillance as an automated or semi-automated process that assists in identifying or verifying an individual, or in capturing information about an individual, based on the physician characteristics of their face. State, county, or municipal departments, public employees, and public officials are prohibited from (a) obtaining, retaining, possessing, accessing, requesting, or using a facial surveillance system or information derived from a search of such a system; (b) entering into an agreement with a third party for the purpose of obtaining, retaining, possessing, accessing, or using, by or on behalf of a department, public employee, or public official, a facial surveillance system or information derived from a search of such a system; and (c) issuing a permit or entering into any other agreement that authorises a third party to obtain, retain, possess, access, or use a facial surveillance system or information derived from a search of such a system. By way of exception, authorities may request a search of a facial surveillance system and may obtain, retain, possess, access, or use the results of a search of such a system in the following cases: (a) investigations of serious crimes, when there is probable cause to believe that an unidentified individual in am image has committed a serious crime; (b) assisting in the identification of a person who is deceased or believed to be deceased; (c) assisting in the identification of a missing or endangered person. Authorities are also allowed to (a) obtain, maintain, or use a facial surveillance system or the results of a search of such a system within the Bureau of Motor Vehicles for the purpose of fraud prevention or investigation; (b) use facial surveillance technology that analyses the eye’s iris in a regional or county jail; and (c) use evidence that has been generated from a search or a facial surveillance system that is related to an investigation of a specific crime. The law further clarifies that facial surveillance data does not, without other evidence, establish probable cause justifying arrest, search, or seizure.

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