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Virginia lawmakers ban police use of facial recognition

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Posted at 5:10 PM, Mar 29, 2021

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Last month, Virginia lawmakers quietly passed one of the most restrictive bans in the country on the use of facial recognition technology. But now some law enforcement officials are asking Gov. Ralph Northam to put the brakes on.

The legislation prohibits all local law enforcement agencies and campus police departments from purchasing or using facial recognition technology unless it is expressly authorized by the state legislature.

The Virginia Sheriffs' Association argues that the legislation is overly broad and hasn’t been thoroughly vetted.

Supporters say facial recognition technology needs to be tightly regulated.

They cite studies that have found higher error rates for facial recognition software used to identify people of color, women, children and the elderly.