The Colorado Senate on Tuesday approved legislation to restrict the use of facial recognition technology in state government, law enforcement and schools.
The senators passed Senate Bill 113 in a 27-7 vote, moving it to the state House of Representatives for consideration. If passed, the bill would establish several limitations and regulations for the use of artificial intelligence facial recognition by government and law enforcement, and would completely ban the use of the recognition technology. facial in public and charter schools through 2025.
“This is a really critical time with facial recognition technology,” said the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Chris Hansen, D-Denver. “We need to make sure we don’t have high error rates and put the appropriate safeguards in the use of facial recognition technology, especially given the high error rate for people of color.”
Several studies have found racial bias in facial recognition technology. For dark-skinned women, the technology had an error rate of 34.7%, compared to 0.8% for light-skinned men, according to a 2018 study study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Similarly, a federal government study in 2019 found that Asians and African Americans were up to 100 times more likely than white men to be misidentified by facial recognition technology.
Under the bill, law enforcement would be prohibited from using facial recognition technology to establish probable cause, identify an individual from a police sketch, or create a record describing the actions of an individual protected by the First Amendment. Law enforcement would also need special permission to use facial recognition to perform real-time surveillance, tracking, or identification.
The bill initially received substantial opposition from law enforcement. However, most law enforcement agencies revoked their opposition after the bill was amended to allow the use of facial recognition technology after probable cause was established.
Seven Republican senators still opposed the bill on Wednesday, with one saying the bill doesn’t go far enough on the use of facial recognition technology in schools.
“I object to the use of facial recognition technology in public schools,” said Senate Minority Leader Chris Holbert of R-Douglas County. “The bill temporarily suspends it while the task force determines guidelines for implementing it.”
The bill would create a task force to study artificial intelligence through 2032. The task force’s findings would inform the use of facial recognition technology in schools after the ban ends in 2025. , said Hansen. While it’s unclear if any schools in Colorado are currently using facial recognition technology, nationally, public schools have used the technology for discipline, such as identifying students seen skipping class or violating the rules in the security images.
Under the bill, government agencies using facial recognition technology would also have to notify a reporting authority, specify why the technology is being used, produce an accountability report, test equipment, and submit any decisions resulting from the technology to a human review.