Cambridge Mayor Marc McGovern tonight introduced an ordinance banning city government use of face surveillance technology. Kade Crockford, director of the Technology for Liberty Program at the ACLU of Massachusetts, released the following statement in response:
"People should be able to walk around Cambridge, attend protests, seek medical treatment, and visit friends and family without worrying that government agencies are keeping tabs on their every movement. Face surveillance technology threatens to create a world where people are watched and tracked – no matter where they are. As technologies advance, so must our laws. There are currently no regulations governing face surveillance in Massachusetts or nationwide, but cities are taking action to bring this technology under democratic control. We are grateful for the City of Cambridge’s leadership to ensure that face surveillance technology doesn’t get out ahead of our basic rights.”
The ACLU of Massachusetts recently launched “Press Pause on Face Surveillance,” a new campaign to build awareness about the civil liberties concerns posed by face surveillance technology and the need to pass a statewide moratorium on the government’s use of the technology.
A new ACLU poll shows 91 percent (91%) of Massachusetts voters think the Commonwealth needs to regulate the government’s ongoing use of face surveillance technology. Seventy-nine percent (79%) of voters support a moratorium to press pause on government use of face surveillance technology, which is currently unregulated in Massachusetts.
An ACLU-backed bill currently before Massachusetts legislators on Beacon Hill would establish a statewide moratorium on government use of face surveillance and other biometric screening technologies until the legislature imposes checks and balances to protect the public’s interest. According to the poll, the moratorium enjoys wide bipartisan voter support: Eighty-four percent (84%) of Democrats, 82 percent (82%) of Independents, and 50 percent (50%) of Republicans favor the moratorium currently before Massachusetts legislators.