WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Jimmy Gomez (D-CA), Congressman Ted Lieu (D-CA), Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), and Congresswoman Yvette Clarke (D-NY) introduced the Facial Recognition Act of 2022 to place strong limits and prohibitions on law enforcement use of facial recognition technology (FRT). FRT is a powerful surveillance tool used by law enforcement agencies, but a lack of greater transparency and reasonable limits on its use threatens Americans’ civil liberties.

Law enforcement has deployed the invasive, sometimes flawed technology to identify peaceful protestors, investigate minor offenses, and arrest people solely on a single FRT match. The algorithms themselves still suffer from discriminatory bias and as a result, individuals have been misidentified through the use of FRT, particularly people of color

The Members’ legislation places strong limits on law enforcement use of FRT; provides transparency to individuals harmed by the use of FRT; and ensures annual assessments and reporting on law enforcement use of the technology.

“We’ve seen, time and time again, that the improper use of facial recognition technology leads to flawed and potentially deadly outcomes,” said Congressman Jimmy Gomez. “Back in 2019, facial recognition technology incorrectly identified my headshot – along with 27 other Members of Congress – as people who have been arrested for a crime. There is no doubt that, left unchecked, the racial and gender biases which exist in FRT will endanger millions of Americans across our country and in particular, communities of color. The Facial Recognition Act of 2022 will ensure we have safeguards to restrict the use of facial recognition and protect the civil liberties of the American people .”

“Protecting the privacy of Americans – especially against a flawed, unregulated, and at times discriminatory technology – is my chief goal with this legislation,” said Congressman Lieu. “I’m pleased to work with Representatives Jackson Lee, Clarke and Gomez to introduce this bill to rein in law enforcement’s use of facial recognition technology. Our bill is a workable solution that limits law enforcement use of FRT to situations where a warrant is obtained showing probable cause that an individual committed a serious violent felony. It also prohibits law enforcement from using FRT at protests, to track individuals with real-time face surveillance, in conjunction with body cameras, and in other problematic scenarios. This approach has received broad support including from civil liberties groups and former law enforcement officers alike.”

“It is a pleasure to join Representatives Ted Lieu, Yvette Clarke, and Jimmy Gomez in introducing this vital legislation to protect civil liberties and prohibit inappropriate use of this technology,” Congresswoman Jackson Lee stated. “Facial recognition technology must not be used as an invasive, intrusive surveillance tool because, if unrestrained, this powerful technology can be misused for racial profiling, infringing on personal privacy, and vilifying people who exercise their Constitutionally protected rights, such as the right to participate in peaceful protests. Our legislation establishes appropriate guardrails against surveilling people and misusing their personal characteristics – including one’s face, head, hair, and body – to identify people who should not be subjected to such targeting and intrusive actions.”

“There is no question that, in its current state, facial recognition is a flawed and harmful technology. We have long past the theoretical when it comes to its struggles identifying and misidentifying women and people of color and, consequently, the real world implications of its deficiencies are confronting real people every day. While these shortcomings are disastrous in the private sector, in law enforcement, they are entirely unacceptable,” said Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke. "My sincere gratitude goes to each of my colleagues standing for this essential legislation. I promise to always fight for legislative solutions such as the Facial Recognition Act of 2022 that center the experiences and wellbeing of the individuals affected by these emerging technologies, rather than the false promises of those promoting them."

Read the full text of the bill here.

Read a one-pager on the bill here.

The Facial Recognition Act of 2022 has garnered quotes of support from:

Jake Laperruque, Deputy Director of the Security and Surveillance Project, Center for Democracy & Technology

“The Center For Democracy & Technology is proud to support the Facial Recognition Act, which provides a broad and bold set of safeguards. Facial recognition is dangerous when it doesn’t work well, and dangerous in a different way when it does; this bill takes on both risks, and provides thoughtful, effective remedies. Right now, facial recognition is a Wild West: in most of the country there are no rules to prevent abuse or sloppy practices. The Facial Recognition Act bill can build consensus on this issue, and establish strong safeguards nationwide.”

Lt. Diane Goldstein (Ret.), Executive Director, Law Enforcement Action Partnership  

“As we develop better capabilities to use technology to apprehend criminals, we need to ensure that there are robust protections in place to safeguard an individual's right to privacy and make sure no one’s Fourth Amendment rights are violated. We are proud to endorse this legislation that addresses a real nexus issue – the interconnectedness of today’s world, people’s right to privacy, and people’s right to safety. By putting forth a framework that establishes, among other things, a warrant rule, due process rights, and disclosure requirements, this legislation will ensure that good police work is being done with the aid of technological advances and within the parameters of the constitution.”

Maj. Neill Franklin (Ret.), Maryland State Police and Baltimore Police Department 

“As a 34 year law enforcement veteran and seasoned criminal investigator, it is refreshing to see proactive legislation governing the use of potentially flawed facial recognition technology. More important is the governance of such technology that’s known to have been used in violating the Constitutionally protected rights of citizens during lawful protest. To ensure use integrity, detailed use documentation and review are essential, and the Facial Recognition Act requires that.”

Willmary Escoto, U.S. Policy Analyst, Access Now

“Government use of facial recognition raises several civil and human rights challenges. The perils of this technology are not hypothetical. For people of color, immigrants, and other marginalized communities – our lives and opportunities to participate in society are increasingly shaped by what protections we have and don’t have. When police departments deploy this invasive surveillance technology in public, they evade Fourth Amendment protections. The Facial Recognition Act of 2022 places civil rights at the front of the privacy debate. Access Now is proud to support this bill.”

Becky Belcore, Co-Director for the National Korean American Service and Education Consortium

“The reality is that white supremacy, anti-Blackness, xenophobia, and racism are built into the United States’ foundations and affect its policies and structures today. We see this with the use of advanced engineering like facial recognition technology (FRT) to surveil and police marginalized communities, including and especially immigrants. There is an urgent need for comprehensive and robust regulations around the use of such technology, and this legislation will protect the rights of millions. As an organization who organizes Asian Americans and immigrants, we are relieved that legislators are taking seriously the need to protect the most vulnerable. Immigrant rights issues are Asian American issues. Immigrant rights issues are human rights issues.”

Det. Jim Trainum (Ret.), Former Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department Detective and Consultant for Criminal Case Review & Consulting

“This bill is an important step to not only ensure that facial recognition technology is used lawfully and responsibly, but also to make certain that only the best and most reliable systems are used.”

Erik G. Learned-Miller, Professor of Computer Science, University of Massachusetts, Amherst and Commissioner on the Massachusetts Facial Recognition Commission  

“I am pleased to endorse the Facial Recognition Act of 2022. This bill strikes an excellent balance between meeting the needs of our law enforcement officers and protecting the rights of individuals. I am eager to see this bill move forward and provide guidance and oversight for this important and ubiquitous technology.”

Woodrow Hartzog, Author of Privacy’s Blueprint: The Battle to Control the Design of New Technologies, Professor of Law, Boston University, and Commissioner on the Massachusetts Facial Recognition Commission

“The Facial Recognition Act of 2022 is a vital response the exceptional dangers of face surveillance. This bill provides substantive, bright-line rules to prevent misuse of these tools by law enforcement. Such clear and non-negotiable limits are necessary because the incentives to abuse facial recognition technologies are simply too great. This bill also provides meaningful enforcement provisions and remedies for those harmed by facial recognition systems without preempting more stringent limitations elsewhere. Rules like these are critical to avoid the inevitable harms of facial recognition.”

Specifically, the Facial Recognition Act of 2022:

  1. Limits law enforcement use of FRT to situations when a warrant is obtained that shows probable cause that an individual committed a serious violent felony.
  2. Prohibits law enforcement from using FRT to create a record documenting how an individual expresses rights guaranteed by the Constitution, e.g. lawfully protesting.
  3. Prohibits an FRT match from being the sole basis upon which probable cause can be established for a search, arrest, or other law enforcement action.
  4. Prohibits law enforcement use of FRT to enforce immigration laws.
  5. Prohibits law enforcement from relying on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and other protected classes in selecting which person to subject to FRT.
  6. Bans the use of FRT in conjunction with databases that contain illegitimately obtained information and body cameras, dashboard cameras, and aircraft cameras.
  7. Bans the use of FRT to track individuals with live or stored video footage.
  8. Ensures that nothing in the bill preempts state or local governments from FRT bans or moratoriums.
  9. Establishes a private right of action for individuals harmed by the use of FRT.
  10. Requires law enforcement to provide notice to individuals who are subjects of an FRT search and a copy of the court order and/or other key data points.
  11. Requires law enforcement to purge the photos of individuals who are younger than 18, were released without charge, had charges dismissed, or were acquitted of the charged offense from FRT arrest photo databases every six months.
  12. Requires regular auditing of FRT systems used by law enforcement agencies and suspensions for agencies that fail audits.
  13. Requires annual, independent testing of any FRT system that law enforcement employs.
  14. Requires detailed FRT judicial and prosecutorial reporting as well as data collection.


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