back to article Dems take a crack at banning Feds from using facial-recog tech. Congress will put it on todo list after 'learn Klingon'

A handful of Democrat Senators and House reps say they will introduce legislation that would stop the Feds and cops in the US from using facial-recognition surveillance gear. The Facial Recognition and Biometric Technology Moratorium Act [PDF] is the latest attempt by lawmakers to regulate the controversial technology. …

  1. Chris G Silver badge

    I know it's how capitalism works but I hate the way vested interest corporations are lobbying politicians whether a law is good for the public interest or not.

    I would love to see limitations set on lobbying from vested interests.

    The Keen app actually looks to be potentially useful, though it is undoubtedly just another profiling and slurpage mechanism.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "The Keen app actually looks to be potentially useful, though it is undoubtedly just another profiling and slurpage mechanism."

      I'm just glad El Reg told us a little of what Keen does. I'd never have figured it out from the promo video.

      1. Chris G Silver badge

        @ John Brown

        I hadn't actually watched the video, as a piece of non information it is extremely successful.

    2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      re: keen app

      The Keen app actually looks to be potentially useful, though it is undoubtedly just another profiling and slurpage mechanism.

      You clearly forgot to add...

      "that will be withdrawn in 3-6 months"

      Isn't that becoming standard for Google these days. Launch some new fancy doo-dad and when it does not become the hottest app on the internet, it gets canned much to the annoyance of those who find it useful.

      What Google giveth, Google usually taketh away.

    3. veti Silver badge

      I don't mind the lobbying. If a proposed law is going to affect someone's business, I think they have every right to speak up about it.

      It's when "speaking up" becomes "paying up" that the corruption sets in. The problem is the whole system of campaign finance, which in turn is intimately tied to the advertising business - and hence, all media.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Simply put sponsors logos on the bill.

        Going one further individual politicians should wear their sponsors logos in public - like F1 drivers

  2. HildyJ Silver badge

    A correction

    In our bicameral legislature, "Congress" is misleading. It is only the upper house, the Senate, somewhat similar to the House of Lords, where Lord McConnell sits on House reform bills and won't let them come up for a vote.

    And BTW, Chris G, the Supreme Court ruling that corporations are people rather than partnerships and, as such, have free speech rights make curbing lobbying impossible under current law.

    1. DavCrav Silver badge

      Re: A correction

      "In our bicameral legislature, "Congress" is misleading."

      As a Brit, I thought it was that the Senate and the House of Representatives make up the Houses of Congress, but Congress is often used (incorrectly) to mean the House of Representatives. I am quite possibly wrong about this, of course.

      Edit: I am wrong. It's called just the US Congress, not the Houses of Congress.

      1. Drew Scriver

        Re: A correction

        Unfortunately, your finding out means that the percentage of people who understand the system in the USA has been increased by a measurable amount.

        The vast majority of Americans have little to no knowledge of civics. That's somewhat curious as it's considered a requirement for voting - if you were not born a US-citizen.

  3. Alister Silver badge

    Sadly, in today's hyper polarised society, the mere fact that this is being introduced by Democratic Senators will mean that it gets rejected out of hand by many, without any thought as to whether it is in the public interest.

    1. Glen 1 Silver badge

      Kinda makes you wonder if reverse psychology would work...

  4. poohbear

    Pinterest with words and without the annoying "you can't see more until you log in."

    1. IGotOut Silver badge

      It's ironic that Pinterest asks you to log in to see stuff scraped off other people's websites that don't require a login.

      1. Snake Silver badge


        It's not ironic, it's fscking AGGRAVATING, when a dumb-ass search engine (hello, DDG!) returns product image searches using Pinterest links, instead of or in addition to 'real' results. Because I'm shopping and a Pinterest link is REALLY useful [absolute /s]

        I'd like Pinterest banned FOREVER and their creators shot in front of a firing squad, then their heads dragged behind a horse that is defacating in its wake. Yeah. MAYBE that will be enough to repay the millions upon millions of wasted links and clicks the world over.

  5. 89724102172714182892114I7551670349743096734346773478647892349863592355648544996312855148587659264921 Bronze badge

    Law enforcement also have face altering technology cornered

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Im not in the data set..

    They won't have a picture of me until such time as they get access to passport/driving license pictures - there are no pictures of me online, nada.

    Sadly, I suspect that idiotic mistake to happen soon on account of money and politics being mightier than any rights or law but for the moment I'm not visible, and that suits me fine - I'm not interested in asocial media, and people who know me know better than to put a picture with me in it online.

    The only way I want my picture online is through notoriety :).

    1. EnviableOne Silver badge

      Re: Im not in the data set..

      This is US Law Enforcement you are talking about, OFC theyhave access to the DMV.

      Thats where the quoted father's picture matched from

    2. Drew Scriver

      Re: Im not in the data set..

      Who is "they" in "they won't have a picture of me"?

      I'm willing to bet half my stash of TP that pictures of you have been stored on servers far and wide.

  7. macjules Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    If you want to see the scary bit ..

    Was in Shanghai last year and made the mistake of crossing a street without waiting for the lights to change. The good news is that as a foreigner they couldn't automatically send a fine or a summons to my mobile, the bad news was that my picture immediately flashed up not only on a huge display above the street, but also on the side of a passing bus.

    Bizarre uses of facial recognition? In public toilets there you have to look at the camera for 3 seconds in order for toilet paper to be dispensed.

    1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      Re: If you want to see the scary bit ..

      Bizarre uses of facial recognition? In public toilets there you have to look at the camera for 3 seconds in order for toilet paper to be dispensed.

      Does that also work with a strained face (on account of the specific circumstances)?


  8. not.known@this.address Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Regarding Farcical Recognition Systems

    As these seem to struggle with false positives on white women and all non-white people, surely the easiest thing to do ignore any and all (alleged) matches on these groups, and only process those potential matches involving white males - at least until the technology is reliable enough that misidentification becomes the exception, not the rule. This would have the double benefit of reducing the number of people unjustly targeted and making the various law enforcement agencies employ "beat cops" instead of remotely-viewed cameras...

    1. EnviableOne Silver badge

      Re: Regarding Farcical Recognition Systems

      intresting suggestion, supposing we further restrict the deployment of this white male only identification technology to houses of ill repute and public houses, so we can identify who is frequenting these facilities ....

    2. Drew Scriver

      Re: Regarding Facial Recognition Systems

      It's interesting that this legislative effort isn't bipartisan. As recently as last year both Democrats and Republicans banded together in their concerns about facial recognition.

      Could it be that the DNC wants all the credit in light of their effort to shift all the blame for anything 'racially' charged to the GOP?

      NPR headline: Facial Recognition Leads To False Arrest Of Black Man In Detroit

  9. PeteA

    IT news sites in the UK?

    Does anyone know of a good UK-based IT news site, ideally with good journalism backed by sarcastic British cultural references? There used to be one here, but some American outfit seems be cybersquatting. I really miss El Reg '(, you were part of IT's good times where craftmanship, elegance and creativity were seen as aspirational virtues rather than potential impediments for hordes of generic code-monkeys.

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