SIA Weighs In on Biometrics and Facial Recognition Legislation

facial recognition being used

The Security Industry Association (SIA) has kicked off the 2021 legislative cycle by testifying at public hearings on biometric and facial recognition technologies in three states and the city of Minneapolis, Minnesota. SIA supports safeguards ensuring responsible use and sensible privacy protections, while rejecting blanket bans or unbalanced restrictions of these technologies.

Introduced in the New Jersey Assembly, NJ A 4211 would impose a moratorium on the use facial recognition by public entities, as well as provisions similar to Illinois’ Biometric Information Protection Act (BIPA) that would open the door to frivolous lawsuits over violations. SIA shared security industry concerns about the bill on Jan. 22, along with other business organizations, with the Assembly Science, Innovation and Technology Committee. While the bill passed out of committee, SIA remains actively engaged in the legislative process.

Introduced in the Hawaii legislature, HI HB 1226 and HI SB 156 would place a ban on public agency use of facial recognition, with some limited exceptions. Following SIA testimony in input from other stakeholders on Feb. 5, HI HB 1226 failed passage in the House Committee on Higher Education & Technology. SIA will continue to stay engaged through the 2021 legislative cycle.

In the Maryland state legislature, MD HB 218 and MD SB 16 are BIPA-style bills that would establish a private right of action. On Jan. 17, SIA testified in opposition during a House Committee on Economic Matters hearing. SIA will continue to engage on this issue for the rest of the legislative session.

The city council in Minneapolis considered an ordinance that would ban city agency use of facial recognition, notably with an exception for providing access control and security for employees in workplaces. SIA shared concerns about the ordinance with the Policy & Government Oversight Committee in its testimony on Feb. 10. The city council subsequently passed the ordinance on Feb. 12. SIA was also mentioned in articles posted by Axios and The Guardian on the matter.