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Back in Olympia today for the House ITED Committee hearing on #SB6280, regulating law enforcement use of facial recognition. #waleg #FaceSurveillance
Here's my post on Friday's #SB6281 hearing. #waleg…
Veena Dubal makes a great point in "SF Was Right to Ban Facial Recognition":

"Even in an imaginary future where algorithmic discrimination does not exist, facial recognition software simply cannot de-bias the practice and impact of state surveillance."…
Meredith Whitaker strikes a similar note in the WSJ earlier this week:

"Facial recognition is generally applied by those who already have power—like employers, landlords and the police—to surveil and in some cases oppress those who don’t."

#sb6280 #waleg
After a short staff briefing, Senator Nguyen is up. He originally supported a moratorium, but the bills didn't pass last year. Looked at moratoriums elsewhere, wanted to do things better. Talked with stakeholders around the nation, read all the bills.

#waleg #sb6280
Lots of discussions about a moratorium. The House Committee's bill (which did not advance out of committee) included a moratorium. #waleg
The Committee has heard testimony from NIST on testing (and presumably accuracy). As a software engineer, I saw the testing section of #SB6280 as very insufficient, and will be covering that in my testimony.
Sen. Nguyen talked about Seattle Police using facial recognition technology, but ...

"Amid rising concern over police use of facial recognition technology, the SPD stopped using its facial-recognition software about a year ago" #SB6280…
San Diego also recently stopped using facial recognition. In addition to the fundamental problems with facial recognition, today's systems don't work well and have huge biases. #waleg #SB6280…
First witness David Montes from King County department of public defense. Section 12: "the proposed protections are insufficient". No consequence for failure to report. If they're cited for not reporting out, they can continue to use the system. #sb6280 #waleg
Montes notes that systems have huge bias problems, especially with communities of color. Error rates are 100 times higher for people of color. #sb6280
Montes: "Extremely troublesome law that would allow extremely troublesome police powers." #sb6280
@jennifer_e_lee from @ACLU_WA opposes bill. Lists off a whole list of uses (and potential abuses) the bill doesn't address. Why does industry support weak regulation? It doesn't impact their bottom lines, trying to deflect from the calls for a moratorium. #waleg
@jennifer_e_lee @ACLU_WA "This legislature has the opportunity to push back against weak regulations that benefit tech companies and oppress communities." #waleg
@jennifer_e_lee @ACLU_WA How long should the moratorium be? Montes: "until technology is ready". Lee: a range of answers, Entenman's bill called for three years, other jurisdicutions have criteria for ending. We need a pause. #waleg
@jennifer_e_lee @ACLU_WA A representative from Microsoft supports #sb6280, arguing it has sufficient safeguards and protections.

Washington state has a part-time legislature. When #waleg is not in session, Senator Nguyen works at Microsoft.
@jennifer_e_lee @ACLU_WA Microsoft notes that there are cases where thoughtful regulation benefits both consumers and businesses. They self-regulate, but believe that there needs to be government regulation. #sb6280
@jennifer_e_lee @ACLU_WA Somebody from Department of Licensing asks for clarification on Section 7: that it's the facial recognition *provider* who needs to provide it, not that DoL has to provide data (which would be a privacy violation) #waleg
@jennifer_e_lee @ACLU_WA A question about how this interacts with REAL-ID ... when privacy invasions collide!
@jennifer_e_lee @ACLU_WA A question for Microsoft about testing. Microsoft is (IMHO) relatively good about giving access to APIs, although treats its algorithms as proprietary. Other vendors aren't as good.
@jennifer_e_lee @ACLU_WA Whoa. There were tons of questions after my testimony ... talk about being in the hot seat!
@jennifer_e_lee @ACLU_WA Also on my panel: @mckennalux from @cair_wa , highlighting how NYPD surveillance targeted Muslim Americans after 9/11. This happened in San Francisco as well. #SB6280…
@jennifer_e_lee @ACLU_WA @mckennalux @cair_wa My testimony looked at Section 7's weakness:

- It ignores intersectional biases - against Black women for example.
- exceptions open up huge loopholes that companies can use to prevent effective testing
- Who approves the mitigation plan? What if it's not executed as planned?
@jennifer_e_lee @ACLU_WA @mckennalux @cair_wa I also quoted @mer__edith:

"Facial recognition is generally applied by those who already have power—like employers, landlords and the police—to surveil and in some cases oppress those who don’t."…
@jennifer_e_lee @ACLU_WA @mckennalux @cair_wa @mer__edith I didn't have time to quote her too, but @veenadubal makes a similar point:

"Even in an imaginary future where algorithmic discrimination does not exist, facial recognition software simply cannot de-bias the practice and impact of state surveillance."…
@jennifer_e_lee @ACLU_WA @mckennalux @cair_wa @mer__edith @veenadubal More positively, I do like #SB6280’s idea of a task force, with participation including the marginalized communities who are usually left out of these discussions. These are very complex issues, and we in Washington State are very well-placed to come up with good answers.
@jennifer_e_lee @ACLU_WA @mckennalux @cair_wa @mer__edith @veenadubal But that will take time. So I too called for a moratorium.

As @luke_stark says: facial recognition is like plutonium.

While we’re figuring out how to regulate it, we don’t want to be installing plutonium dispensers on every shop, sidewalk, and street in Washington. #SB6280
@jennifer_e_lee @ACLU_WA @mckennalux @cair_wa @mer__edith @veenadubal @luke_stark Next up, @hellrazr (former Executive Director of @Privacyactivism) noted that the bill focused overwhelmingly on process. "With a technology this intrusive we should have more provisions in the bill that protect our rights." #SB6280
@jennifer_e_lee @ACLU_WA @mckennalux @cair_wa @mer__edith @veenadubal @luke_stark @hellrazr @Privacyactivism She suggested using Fair Information Principles using the fair information principles as a guide, including opt-in consent as much as is practical before footage is collected; stronger protections including warrant requirements for law enforcement; and ... a moratorium.
@jennifer_e_lee @ACLU_WA @mckennalux @cair_wa @mer__edith @veenadubal @luke_stark @hellrazr @Privacyactivism Hey wait a second, I'm noticing a pattern here.

For those keeping score at home, everybody testifying against the bill called for a moratorium.

@jennifer_e_lee @ACLU_WA @mckennalux @cair_wa @mer__edith @veenadubal @luke_stark @hellrazr @Privacyactivism There got some excellent questions from legislators, including Norma Smith, @SlatterVandana, and @GaelTarleton. As I said in my post on #SB6281, I'm really impressed by the passion for privacy and the knowledge of the House ITED Committee. #waleg
@jennifer_e_lee @ACLU_WA @mckennalux @cair_wa @mer__edith @veenadubal @luke_stark @hellrazr @Privacyactivism @SlatterVandana @GaelTarleton At Friday's #SB6281 hearing, as one witness faced some sharp questioning, I remember thinking "I'm glad it's him and not me". At the #SB6280 hearing, it was my turn. 😂

Seriously, though, they were great questions, and I really appreciated the opportunity to respond.
@jennifer_e_lee @ACLU_WA @mckennalux @cair_wa @mer__edith @veenadubal @luke_stark @hellrazr @Privacyactivism @SlatterVandana @GaelTarleton The hearing wrapped up with the Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs opposing #SB6280 because they should be even be able to do more stuff without warrants, and somebody from a security companies association saying that the very weak protections were too strong.
@jennifer_e_lee @ACLU_WA @mckennalux @cair_wa @mer__edith @veenadubal @luke_stark @hellrazr @Privacyactivism @SlatterVandana @GaelTarleton And then there were some very good hallway discussions afterwards, including one with @SlatterVandana which I somehow walked away with an action item. Drat. I hate it when that happens.
@jennifer_e_lee @ACLU_WA @mckennalux @cair_wa @mer__edith @veenadubal @luke_stark @hellrazr @Privacyactivism @SlatterVandana @GaelTarleton Still, it was another excellent hearing. The ITED Committee has until March 2 to either advance a modified version #SB6280 (@senjoenguyen mentioned at the beginning that he's working on an amendment) or kill it. We shall see.
@jennifer_e_lee @ACLU_WA @mckennalux @cair_wa @mer__edith @veenadubal @luke_stark @hellrazr @Privacyactivism @SlatterVandana @GaelTarleton @senjoenguyen It's a tough position for the legislators. They've put a lot of effort into something they clearly think has strong protections ... and yet they're getting pushback on two fronts: the protections are weak (in some cases a step back), and there needs to be a moratorium.
@jennifer_e_lee @ACLU_WA @mckennalux @cair_wa @mer__edith @veenadubal @luke_stark @hellrazr @Privacyactivism @SlatterVandana @GaelTarleton @senjoenguyen If I understood @senjoenguyen correctly at the beginning, he favored a moratorium but concluded there wasn't the political will to make it happen. Depending on how many other legislators are approaching it that way, it's potentially a self-fulfilling prophecy.
@jennifer_e_lee @ACLU_WA @mckennalux @cair_wa @mer__edith @veenadubal @luke_stark @hellrazr @Privacyactivism @SlatterVandana @GaelTarleton @senjoenguyen Passing a weak law (like the current #SB6280) that doesn't actually include meaningful protections - and lets companies continue to spray plutonium all around the state - isn't a great solution.

But then again, neither is spraying plutonium without *any* regulation.
@jennifer_e_lee @ACLU_WA @mckennalux @cair_wa @mer__edith @veenadubal @luke_stark @hellrazr @Privacyactivism @SlatterVandana @GaelTarleton @senjoenguyen Oh wait, one more thing. And as I said when @SavannahSly and I spoke yesterday at the @SEAindivisible Resist Trump Tuesday Rally, this is a time when grassroots activism can really make a difference.…
@jennifer_e_lee @ACLU_WA @mckennalux @cair_wa @mer__edith @veenadubal @luke_stark @hellrazr @Privacyactivism @SlatterVandana @GaelTarleton @senjoenguyen @SavannahSly @SEAindivisible So please, if you live in Washington state, contact your legislators and ask them to OPPOSE #SB6280 in its current form

- its protections are not strong enough
- we need a moratorium

Here's a post from @WaIndivisible with details about how to do that.…
@jennifer_e_lee @ACLU_WA Oops. I broke the threading here. The tweetstream continues at
@jennifer_e_lee @ACLU_WA @mckennalux @cair_wa Now that i think of it, @noplasticshower, I'm curious what you think of sections 6 and 7, or anything else, in #SB6280.

Here's the bill's text -- it's fairly short, those two sections are less than a page.…
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