Victory! California Governor Signs A.B. 1215

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California’s Governor Gavin Newsom has officially signed a bill that puts a moratorium on law enforcement’s use of face recognition for three years.

Under Assemblymember Phil Ting’s bill, A.B. 1215, police departments and law enforcement agencies across the state of California will have until January 1, 2020 to end any existing use of face recognition on body-worn cameras. Three years without police use of this invasive technology means three years without a particularly pernicious and harmful technology on the streets and has the potential to facilitate better relationships between police officers and the communities they serve. As EFF’s Associate Director of Community Organizing Nathan Sheard told the California Assembly, using face recognition technology “in connection with police body cameras would force Californians to decide between actively avoiding interaction and cooperation with law enforcement, or having their images collected, analyzed, and stored as perpetual candidates for suspicion.”

This moratorium brings to the entire state the privacy that some cities in California have already won. In May 2019, San Francisco became the first city in the country to ban police use of Face recognition technology and was followed in June by Oakland.

Because A.B. 1215 will end on January 1, 2023, we are encouraging communities across the state to advocate for face recognition bans in your own cities and towns. Take this opportunity to advocate for the end of the harmful technology in your own neighborhoods.

Congratulations to all of the members of the coalition and the Californian residents who made their voices heard on this bill. You helped make this happen.

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