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Bernie Sanders, one of the Democrat's 2020 presidential campaign hopefuls, has called for a complete ban on facial-recognition software.
Sanders' presidential campaign website, in detailing his criminal justice reform plans, proposes “ban[-ning] the use of facial-recognition software for policing” in order to ensure law enforcement accountability and robust oversight policing.
The criminal justice reform plan emphasises the need to "place a moratorium on the use of the algorithmic risk assessment tools in the criminal justice system until an audit is completed".
The plan also states: "We must ensure these tools do not have any implicit biases that lead to unjust or excessive sentences".
It also foresees a ban on federal programs that provide military equipment to local police forces.
Recent research has suggested that commercial AI systems for facial recognition can fail for women and darker-skinned people and there has been a backlash towards facial-recognition technology worldwide, which is already affecting legislation in various cities in the US.
A decree in Oakland, California, in July, banned facial-recognition software on the basis that it could run the risk of making a city's residents less safe, as the misidentification of individuals could lead to the misuse of force, false incarceration and minority-based persecution. Oakland became the third city in the US to ban police use of facial-recognition technology.
Within California, where Sanders proved to be a popular candidate during his 2016 presidential election campaign (and where he built a large grassroots network in the state during his 2016 run), one place was already declared facial-recognition free: in May this year, San Francisco - the nation's third-largest urban economy - deemed the purchase and use of facial-recognition technology by city personnel illegal.
That Bernie Sanders is not alone in his view is evident in news from last week. Lawmakers and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) pressed for a complete ban of facial-recognition technology in California. A test conducted by ACLU allegedly found proof that commercial facial-recognition technology would lead to incorrect matches - half of the falsely matched lawmakers were ethnic minorities, it found.
In the ongoing presidential campaign, issues connected to technology appear to chime with voters. Senator Elizabeth Warren, another Democratic candidate in the race, expressed her ambition in March to put forward a regulatory plan that would aim at breaking up some of America’s largest tech companies, including Amazon, Google, Apple and Facebook, according to a New York Times report.
So far, Sander’s own campaign proved to be largely successful in enticing voters to give money. The New York Times reported that Sanders maintained a high level of campaign donations and a report compared his fund-raising efforts to “a factory full of contributors constantly churning out small donations”.
Other tech-related suggestions highlighted by Sanders campaign include an increase of educational opportunities for persons with disabilities, and an expansion in career and technical education opportunities to prepare students for good-paying community employment.
This article first appeared on eandt.theiet.org
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