Proposed bill could ban the use of facial recognition technology in Nebraska 

The bill would prohibit any governmental entity from obtaining, retaining, accessing or using facial recognition technology to identify individuals based on the physical characteristics of a person's face.

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – People gathered at the Nebraska State Capitol on Thursday to say their piece on LB 199, a proposed bill sponsored by Senator Tony Vargas. It would ban the use of facial recognition technology in Nebraska.

The bill would prohibit any governmental entity from obtaining, retaining, accessing or using facial recognition technology to identify individuals based on the physical characteristics of a person’s face.

Vargas says due to issues with privacy and accuracy through face recognition, it has also brought to light the bias tendencies the technology brings.

“All of which the state may identify people of color, women, children and seniors at more frequent rates,” Vargas said. “In some instances, more than 10 times of other demographic groups.”

Additionally, the bill would NOT allow any information collected from facial recognition technology to be accepted as evidence in any legal proceeding.

But not everyone is for banning the facial similarity software.

A captain with the Omaha Police Department said facial recognition technology is a part of their investigative process. Some of the cases they have used the technology for is homicides and missing person cases, but it also helps identify suspects, victims and witnesses.

“Police can’t write a warrant based solely on facial recognition, but we rather can utilize the software to generate leads and inform individuals as potential matches,” the officer said.

The Omaha Police Department used facial recognition technology 68 times last year. They say it can be an effective tool to help early in most investigations.

“This technology must be used appropriately within constitutional guidelines,” the officer said. “We would advocate for legislation to properly balance its use, but eliminating the tool as an investigative resource would be detrimental to public safety.”

According to LB199, if this bill passes, any violation of the law would allow an individual to bring a civil action to the governmental entity committing the violation.
Categories: Nebraska News, News