April 02, 2020

Corporate Counsel Looks to Justin Kay for Context into Regulation of Government Use of Facial Recognition Technology

In an article on a new Washington state law regulating facial recognition technology, Corporate Counsel turned to partner Justin Kay for insight on how the law and its provisions relate to current practices and the broader regulatory landscape.

The Washington law (Senate Bill 6280) goes into effect July 1, 2021, and is intended to safeguard individuals’ rights. It establishes restrictions on how state agencies can use facial recognition, including requiring agencies to prepare an accountability report prior to implementing the technology.

In the article “Microsoft Chief Legal Officer Applauds Washington’s Recently Signed Facial Recognition Law,” Kay shares that the law will impose some restrictions, which are already considered best practices.

“For example, the Washington law requires a ‘meaningful human review’ of a match before a decision is made based on that match, but it would be unusual for there not to be human review as a last step,” Kay told the publication.

Kay notes that there is currently no federal law governing the use of facial recognition technology. The Washington law is distinct from existing Texas and New Hampshire state laws, he says, in that it narrowly applies to facial recognition technology, specifically applies to government agencies, and does not exclude law enforcement.

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