The California state legislature voted Thursday to send a bill temporarily banning facial recognition software in law enforcement body cameras to the governor’s desk, becoming the third state to do so. Outside of Oregon and New Hampshire, which have similar laws in place, two California cities, San Francisco and Oakland, already adopted similar measures this summer.
Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, must decide on whether he will sign the bill, commonly referred to as the Body Camera Accountability Act, into law by Oct. 13. If he does, the measure will go into effect in January.
The bill bans biometric surveillance technology in cameras as well as the practice of taking body camera footage and running it through facial recognition software at a later time. However, state and local police are not banned from using the technology on other cameras, including stationary ones, and federal agencies are not banned from using the software in California.
As facial recognition software becomes more common, there has been growing pushback from advocacy groups arguing that the unregulated use of the tech by law enforcement and government agencies could violate privacy rights.
While the bill would ban facial recognition software from body cameras, law enforcement are not banned from using it in other cameras.