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Bernie Sanders wants to ban police use of facial recognition

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Bernie Sanders has called for a complete ban on the police use of facial recognition.

The Vermont senator’s proposal to “ban the use of facial recognition software for policing” is part of his broader criminal justice reform agenda.

Facial recognition technology has drawn the ire of lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, some of whom have called for a “time out” on its development. However, that seems unlikely, since the technology is already being used in some form or another in dozens of U.S. cities — as this interactive map details.

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Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., pauses while speaking during a forum on June 21, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., pauses while speaking during a forum on June 21, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

The activist group responsible for the map, Fight for the Future, is calling for a total federal ban on the technology. Sanders is the first 2020 presidential candidate to do so.

“The rapid spread of facial recognition surveillance is one of the most urgent threats to our basic freedom and human rights today. Every single 2020 candidate should be calling for a ban on this invasive, biased and dangerous technology,” said Evan Greer, deputy director of Fight for the Future, in a statement shared with Fox News.

Several American cities, including Oakland and San Francisco in California, along with Somverville, Mass., have voted to ban the municipal use of facial recognition technology. Berkeley, Calif. and Cambridge, Mass. are also considering bans on the controversial technology.

Sens. Kamala Harris and Cory Booker expressed strong reservations about the technology’s potential ability to fuel racial bias in a letter to the Federal Trade Commission last September.

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“Banning facial recognition is not a radical idea. It’s common sense. Allowing government agencies to build a face-scanning panopticon with no oversight or accountability is reckless and puts people in danger,” Greer said.

Fight for the Future opposes any attempts by Big Tech to get Congress to pass a “regulatory framework” for facial recognition because the nonprofit believes that would only bolster the technology’s spread in the U.S.

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