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Gov. Glenn Youngkin met with stakeholders on Wednesday to talk about facial recognition technology legislation that he is deciding whether to sign into law. The bill would allow law enforcement to use photos from Facebook and Instagram to help track down crime suspects and even identify victims.
Right now, local and campus police are not allowed to use facial recognition technology, but Virginia State Police and the Capitol Police can.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia and other civil rights groups call the practice “reckless, invasive and ripe for abuse.” They say it’s disproportionately used in Black and brown communities and has shown to be inaccurate in identifying people of color.
But Sen. Scott Surovell (D-Fairfax), who introduced the bill during the General Assembly session this year, says the proposal is largely misunderstood. It prohibits the use of facial recognition technology for surveillance or monitoring and it states that the technology has to be found by the National Institute of Standards and Technology to have 98% accuracy and a minimum deviation across racial subgroups.
Surovell adds it is more accurate than current policing methods used to identify people, including lineups, which he says have a 40% error rate.
“From my point of view, I think this technology will actually result in fewer people being wrongfully charged and wrongfully accused,” he said.
Surovell said he was not invited to the meeting. Youngkin’s spokesperson Macaulay Porter responded by email to VPM’s request for comment. She declined to say who would be at the meeting but said it’s an important topic for both community safety and personal privacy.
The bill passed the House and the Senate with bipartisan support. The governor has until April 11 to sign or reject the bill.
This story was produced with assistance from the Public Media Journalists Association Editor Corps funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people.
March 30 2022, 04:42
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