Massachusetts legislators adopt bill banning public agencies from using facial recognition

Legislators in the state of Massachusetts, USA, have adopted a bill which makes it unlawful for law enforcement and other public agencies to acquire, possess, access, use, assist with the use of, or provide resources for the development or use of biometric surveillance systems (in the absence of an express authorisation or a special law to the contrary). The bill defines a biometric surveillance system as any computer software that performs facial recognition or other remote biometric recognition. An exception is provided for the use of facial recognition technology by the registrar of motor vehicles to verify an individual’s identity when issuing licenses, permits, or other documents, and to perform searches of its facial recognition database at the request of law enforcement agencies made pursuant to a warrant or in an emergency situation. The bill needs to be signed by the Massachusetts governor to enter into force.