SACRAMENTO — The California Legislature today sent State Assembly member Phil Ting's Body Camera Accountability Act (AB 1215) to Governor Newsom, positioning California to become the largest state in the country to block law enforcement agencies from adding facial recognition software to officer-worn body cameras.
In response to the bill's passage, Matt Cagle, Technology and Civil Liberties Attorney for the ACLU of Northern California, issued the following statement:
"We applaud the California Legislature for approving this landmark bill to proactively block the dangerous addition of facial recognition to police body cameras.
Californians deserve approaches to public safety that work for all of us, and that uphold our civil liberties and human rights. Face-scanning body cameras would be a disastrous step in the wrong direction.
Unleashing this inaccurate and racially biased technology on police body cameras — which were promised to Californians as police transparency and accountability tools, not to spy on the public — would undoubtedly lead to unjust arrests and even death. But the threat that facial recognition poses to our fundamental rights and freedoms cannot be fixed by making this technology more precise in identifying and tracking our every move. Californians have a right to walk down the street and go about our daily lives without worrying that our identity and location will be tracked and cataloged by the government.
We urge Governor Newsom to sign AB 1215 to protect Californians' safety, civil liberties, and human rights."
The deadline for Governor Newsom to sign AB 1215 is October 13, 2019. If signed, the bill would go into effect January 1, 2020, banning facial recognition on body cameras through 2022.