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Unicameral eyeing face surveillance regulations

Posted at 7:31 PM, Mar 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-11 20:31:03-05

LINCOLN, Neb. (KMTV) — More and more cameras are out in public and as technology gets better, law enforcement can use those images, along with face surveillance technology to help identify suspects to crimes.

But one state senator believes it’s a violation of our civil liberties and wants to ban the evidence for trials.

If you’re out in public, it’s likely that cameras are capturing you. While that is nothing new, law enforcement have more recently been able to use those images to their advantage.

With some police departments across the country making arrests after matching those images with driver’s license photos.

“It is creepy, it is dystopian when it is working well and it is problematic for different reasons when it doesn’t work well,” said Spike Eicholt, attorney for the ACLU of Nebraska.

Eicholt has concerns on first amendment grounds, worrying it violates our civil liberties.

He said a bigger issue is that the technology is often wrong.

“What’s more problematic now, in the short term, is that it doesn’t work well and consistently it has high error rights, particularly for people of color and actually for women of color,” said Eicholt.

Omaha Police testified in opposition.

“There is a need to regulate this,” said Captain Steve Cerveny. “We would discourage eliminating it completely”

Cerveny said that they use facial recognition as a tool, but won’t solely use those camera images to make an arrest.

“You could not use that to write a warrant or obtain a warrant. You could use it as a potential investigative resource like any other information or evidence that we would try to obtain to further an investigation,” said Cerveny.

Vargas just wants to ensure the state regulates this now, before some people in power take it too far.

“We should be mindful of this, security in this decade is the number one concern,” said Vargas.