The Fight Over Facial Recognition Technology Gets Fiercer During the Covid-19 Pandemic

May 5, 2020

(STAT News) – The long-simmering debate over facial recognition technology is taking on new urgency during the pandemic, as companies rush to pitch face-scanning systems to track the movements of Covid-19 patients. That’s playing out in California, where state legislators on Tuesday will debate legislation that would regulate the use of the technology. Its most controversial element: It would permit companies and public agencies to feed people’s facial data into a recognition system without their consent if there is probable cause to believe they’ve engaged in criminal activity. The bill isn’t specifically meant for the coronavirus response, but if enacted, could shape the way that people with Covid-19 and their contacts are tracked and traced in the coming months.