At least half of American adults have their photo in a facial recognition network that authorities can search without a court order or meaningful privacy protections.
But that finding by Georgetown University researchers, who dubbed the networks a “perpetual line-up” in late 2016, generated little legislative activity.
Alvaro Bedoya, a Georgetown law professor who helped write the report, says he knows of a single lawmaker, Maryland state Del. Charles Sydnor, who took up his call for regulating official use of facial recognition tools.
Sydnor, a Baltimore County Democrat, later gave up on that bill, which would require police to get a court order to search databases of driver’s license photos, after it died in committee last year.
Some privacy advocates say, however, that the issue’s time has come and that regulations are needed as states write rules for other emerging technologies, such as drones and cell-site simulators.
Hints of authoritarian potential are emerging, they say, as Chinese police don facial recognition sunglasses and Dubai authorities apply facial recognition tools to the emirate’s security cameras.