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Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Ten states have introduced bills in 2020 that would regulate, ban or study facial recognition systems, according to the Georgetown Law Center on Privacy and Technology.

The big picture: There is no federal regulation on this tech, despite consensus for guardrails from its creators and bipartisan support for its restraint in Congress.

What's new: States weren't as interested in facial recognition tech last year, according to Hayley Tsukayama, who monitors state surveillance legislation for the Electronic Frontier Foundation. But city-wide bans in Oakland, San Francisco and Cambridge proved that legislation was possible.

  • Indiana, New Jersey, South Carolina and Washington state are proposing restrictions on law enforcement's use of facial recognition — when employed on its own or with body cameras. (The CEO of Axon, the largest supplier of body cameras to police in the U.S., expects the company to use facial recognition in 3-5 years.)
  • New Hampshire is calling for a total ban, while Michigan wants to ban "real-time" use — recognizing and capturing faces in public, in real time.
  • Vermont is concerned with notifying shoppers when facial recognition is used in stores, and Maryland proposes telling defendants if they were identified with the tech.

What's next for privacy advocates: Jameson Spivack, policy associate at Georgetown's privacy center, expects the bipartisan issue to "move beyond wealthy liberal bastions."

  • Maryland lawmakers are working on another bill to limit external agency access to the state's facial recognition system, which includes mugshot and driver's license photos, one Georgetown researcher said.
  • A New York bill banning biometric identification in school systems is expected to be reintroduced this year, the ACLU's Chad Marlow said. "I think if we had 72 more hours we would have passed it," he added.

Background: Big Tech companies selling facial recognition systems — like IBM, Microsoft and Amazon — have asked federal policymakers to judge how government agencies and law enforcement use the tech, and a few bipartisan measures have responded.

  • A recent federal study found that facial recognition systems offered by those companies largely failed to identify people of color, predominately Asians and African Americans. Amazon did not submit its algorithm to the study, per the Post.
  • IBM, Face ++ and Microsoft reduced accuracy issues for identifying darker-skinned women within 7 months of a 2018 MIT Media Lab study measuring those errors. MIT found that Amazon's system was the worst at identifying darker-skinned women, which the company has disputed.

Go deeper: Homeland Security drops controversial facial recognition plan

Go deeper

2 hours ago - Health

Axios AM Deep Dive: Covid forever

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

It was 563 days ago that the WHO declared Covid-19 a pandemic. This Axios AM Deep Dive, led by healthcare reporter Caitlin Owens, looks at our Covid future.

Federal judge blocks vaccine mandate for NYC teachers

Students are dismissed from the first day of school at PS 133 in Brooklyn on Sept. 13. Photo: Michael Nagle/Xinhua via Getty Images

A federal appeals court judge on Friday temporarily blocked New York City schools from enforcing a vaccine mandate for school employees, days before it was set to take effect, AP reports.

Driving the news: The vaccine mandate was set to begin on Monday, prompting concerns over staffing shortages in schools across the nation's largest school system.

CCP releases two jailed Canadians after Huawei CFO deal with DOJ

Photo: Sheldon Cooper/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Two Canadians imprisoned by the Chinese government for over 1,000 days have been released and are expected to arrive in Canada on Saturday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday.

Why it matters: Their release comes hours after Huawei Technologies CFO Meng Wanzhou reached a deal with the U.S. Department of Justice that resolves the criminal charges against her and could pave the way for her to return to China.