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Booker introduces bill banning facial recognition tech in public housing

Booker introduces bill banning facial recognition tech in public housing
© Stefani Reynolds

Sen. Cory BookerCory BookerOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Biden announces bipartisan infrastructure deal | DOJ backs Trump-era approval of Line 3 permit | Biden hits China on solar panels Lawmakers come to bipartisan framework agreement on police reform Bipartisan agriculture climate bill clears Senate MORE (D-N.J.) on Friday introduced a bill banning the use of facial recognition technology in public housing, mirroring legislation proposed in the House in July.

The No Biometric Barriers to Housing Act would block the tech from being installed in housing units that receive funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

“Using facial recognition technology in public housing without fully understanding its flaws and privacy implications seriously harms our most vulnerable communities,” Booker, a 2020 presidential candidate, said in a statement.

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“Facial recognition technology has been repeatedly shown to be incomplete and inaccurate, regularly targeting and misidentifying women and people of color. We need better safeguards and more research before we test this emerging technology on those who live in public housing and risk their privacy, safety, and peace of mind.”

Facial recognition technology, which scans faces for the purposes of identifying individuals, has received increasing scrutiny over the past few months.

Civil rights groups have expressed concerns that the technology expands unwarranted surveillance and highlighted studies that have found certain products misidentify women and people of color at higher rates.

There is currently no federal law dictating when, how, where or why facial recognition technology can be used.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have pledged they will work up legislation that would limit, or even impose a temporary ban on, facial recognition technology.

The House version of the No Biometric Barriers to Housing Act, introduced by Reps. Yvette ClarkeYvette Diane ClarkeOvernight Health Care: CDC panel meets on vaccines and heart inflammation | Health officials emphasize vaccine is safe | Judge rules Missouri doesn't have to implement Medicaid expansion TSA working on additional pipeline security regulations following Colonial Pipeline hack School districts struggle to defend against rising ransomware attacks MORE (D-N.Y.), Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyDemocrats urge Biden to extend moratorium on student loan payments The Memo: Some Democrats worry rising crime will cost them It's past time we elect a Black woman governor MORE (D-Mass.) and Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibHouse Republicans introduce resolution to censure the 'squad' Progressives rally behind Omar while accusing her critics of bias Omar: I wasn't equating terrorist organizations with democratic countries MORE (D-Mich.), has been referred to the House Financial Services Committee.

Booker's is the second bill introduced on the issue in the Senate this year. Sens. Brian SchatzBrian Emanuel SchatzThe Hill's Morning Report - ObamaCare here to stay Democrats scramble to unify before election bill brawl Schumer to force vote Tuesday on sweeping election bill MORE (D-Hawaii) and Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Senate to vote on elections bill Congress barrels toward debt cliff Excellence Act will expand mental health and substance use treatment access to millions MORE (R-Mo.) earlier this year introduced a bill to regulate the commercial use of facial recognition technology.

Several local and state governments have taken it into their own hands to curtail or ban facial recognition technology, including California, Oregon and New Hampshire, where law enforcement has been barred from using it.