The Window to Rein In Facial Recognition Is Closing

In the wake of jarring revelations about how United States law enforcement agencies have deployed facial recognition, Congress seemed, for a moment, galvanized to act. Based on a Homeland Security Committee hearing in the House Wednesday, that moment appears to be fading—as hundreds of local, state, and federal law enforcement officials continue to amass and access the controversial data every day. Some municipalities—San Francisco and Somerville, Massachusetts, among them—have proactively banned law enforcement's use of facial recognition. And more localized entities, like the New York State Education Department, have barred it in certain circumstances as well. And even police bodycam maker Axon has declined to incorporate it into its products. But the longer Congress waits to act on a broader …

In the Face of Danger, Were Turning to Surveillance

When school began in Lockport, New York, this past fall, the halls were lined not just with posters and lockers, but cameras. Over the summer, a brand new $4 million facial recognition system was installed by the school district in the town’s eight schools from elementary to high school. The system scans the faces of students as they roam the halls, looking for faces that have been uploaded and flagged as dangerous. "Any way that we can improve safety and security in schools is always money well spent," David Lowry, president of the Lockport Education Association, told the Lockport Union-Sun & Journal. Two months before those students filed into their schools in Lockport, Taylor Swift performed a concert at the …