Senators propose limits on police use of facial recognition

A bipartisan pair of lawmakers wants to limit the use of facial recognition technology by federal law enforcement. In November, Sens. Mike Lee (R–Utah) and Chris Coons (D–Del.) introduced the Facial Recognition Technology Warrant Act. The bill would require federal officials to seek a warrant in order to use facial recognition technology to track a specific person’s public movements for more than 72 hours.

The legislation does not prohibit the use of facial recognition technology to identify people. Indeed, it allows authorities to use facial recognition to identify people without a warrant so long as “no subsequent attempt is made to track that individual’s movement in real-time or through the use of historical records after the individual has been identified.” In other words, the bill requires law enforcement to obtain a warrant only for long-term surveillance of a specific person.