A New US Bill Would Ban the Police Use of Facial Recognition. Would it Affect Police Use of Drones?

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A bill in the United States, proposed by Senator Chris Coons,  D-Delaware and Senator Mike Lee,  R-Utah,  would require law enforcement to get a judges approval before conducting surveillance if enacted.

The bill, called the Facial Recognition Technology Warrant Act, would require federal law enforcement to obtain a warrant from a judge to use facial recognition to track someone in real time for longer than three days, and would limit that surveillance to 30 days. It also would require the judge to report the request to U.S. court administrators for tracking.  The bill, which appropriately refers to the technology rather than the delivery tool such as closed circuit TV or drones, could relieve fears about law enforcement use of drone technology in communities.

Senator Coons said that the bill “strikes the right balance by making sure law enforcement has the tools necessary to keep us safe while also protecting fundamental Fourth Amendment privacy rights.”

Facial recognition has long been used in other countries, such a England, where it is used in conjunction with other technologies such as closed circuit TV networks.  In China, the software has been used to identify protesters: some countries, before Covid-19, have tried to  ban masks to prevent the use of facial recognition.

As seen in the Intelligent Security Systems video below, facial recognition can be acheived by drones. This is not a common use for drone technology in law enforcement, despite public perception that surveillance is a primary use.  Drones equipped with cameras are generally used to ensure the safety of officers and communities, for search and rescue, or for efficiency and accuracy in missions such as documenting accidents and crime scenes.


Video from ISS:  Drone Facial Recognition








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