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Maine joins list of states to ban facial recognition technology

Maine joins list of states to ban facial recognition technology

Maine joins list of states to ban facial recognition technology

AUGUSTA, Maine—Maine recently passed a bill into law creating one of the strictest statewide regulations on the use of facial recognition technology, as it joins several states to ban the technology just in the last few months. Many within the security industry, including the Security Industry Association (SIA), have lobbied strongly against such bans, mainly in an effort to bring greater awareness of the benefits and security, especially in regard to privacy, when using the technology responsibly.

While several states regulate facial recognition as a surveillance tool, the Maine law represents a broad prohibition of the technology at the state, county and municipal government levels, with limited exceptions for law enforcement purposes, officials said. The ACLU of Maine said it is the strongest statewide facial recognition regulation in the country, and the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Grayson Lookner, called it “a huge victory for privacy rights and civil liberties in Maine.”

“I hope that Maine can provide an example to other states that want to rein in the government’s ability to use facial recognition and other invasive biometric technologies,” added Lookner, D-Portland.

The bill became law without the governor’s signature. Under the law, police may request a facial recognition search from the FBI and Bureau of Motor Vehicles databases if they have probable cause to believe an unidentified person in an image has committed a serious crime. Those requests will be tracked.

The bill also clarifies that a facial recognition match does not constitute probable cause to make an arrest. Individuals also may sue if they believe a government agency or official has violated the law.

Other states have bans on specific uses, like in schools or on college campuses, but Maine’s law is much more far reaching.


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