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Despite some opposition, facial recognition measure moves forward

In this photo taken Tuesday, May 7, 2019, is a security camera in the Financial District of San Francisco. (Eric Risberg/AP)
In this photo taken Tuesday, May 7, 2019, is a security camera. (Eric Risberg/AP)

Governor Glenn Youngkin is considering a bill that would allow police departments to use facial recognition technology.

Police departments across Virginia may soon have access to facial recognition technology. The House and Senate have both approved a bill that's raised alarm bells with some lawmakers who feel it's a violation of privacy. Delegate Sam Rasoul is a Democrat from Roanoke who says if the cops want to use a faceprint to identify a suspect, they should be required to get a warrant.

"Our laws have not kept up with technology as it has evolved, and what we see is a clear violation of not only our privacy laws but of the Fourth Amendment that there should be due process in the use of technology there should be due process as well," Rasoul says. "And that's why you'll find concerns on both sides of the aisle that say we need to be smart about this."

Last year, lawmakers passed a bill that outlawed the use of facial recognition technology by local police departments. Now the bill from Senator Scott Surovell, a Democrat from Fairfax County, would overturn that and let them use it again – without a warrant.

"Listen, Fairfax did this more than 12,000 times. The courts can't even handle 12,000 requests for this," Surovell explains. "That would be a completely unworkable system. We don't require a warrant to do a police lineup to identify somebody."

The governor has a month to decide if he wants to sign Surovell’s bill, veto it or add an amendment.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.