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Massachusetts Restricts Facial Recognition Technology

Facial recognition technology has been a controversial tool used by law enforcement to gather evidence about misdemeanor offenses like larceny, sexual assault, identity theft, burglary and fraud. Previously, police in Massachusetts could run a state-wide search by simply emailing a photo to the RMV. A new law now requires police to get a court order to search the RMV database. It must be proven that the search is relevant to the investigation. 

Facial recognition technology has been known to return false positives against people of color. The technology typically has difficulty recognizing faces with a black or brown skin color. There is also a potential for abuse if law enforcement is able to freely search local, national and private databases. The new law is a step forward. Unfortunately, however, it does not stop state police or the FBI from contracting with private facial recognition technologies and then sharing this info with local police departments. 

The law has also created a commission to study due process in the use of facial recognition evidence and the ability of the technology to identify people based on race, age and gender. The new law requires law enforcement to document and make public their facial recognition searches. In the future, this information may be shared with the defense team. 

Facial recognition technology has numerous problems which can inflame bias against certain groups and which can be prone to abuse. Massachusetts law is evolving on this matter, and facial recognition evidence may be subject to even more scrutiny in the future. At Dhar Law, LLP, we are experienced attorneys with in-depth knowledge of the law, who are ready to use the most up to date and effective defense in your criminal case. Facial recognition technology is at the cutting edge of technology and the law. Evidence gathered this way is prone to numerous problems and abuses, and a strong defense is needed to ensure you get a fair trial. 

The racial bias in policing is well known, and it is notoriously difficult to receive fair treatment in the criminal justice system as a person of color. If you are accused of a serious crime and facial recognition technology is involved, our high-powered criminal defense team will fight for your rights to ensure you get a fair trial and the best possible defense. Please do not hesitate to contact Dhar Law, LLP to get a free consultation.

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Heading up the firm, Vikas Dhar is widely recognized as a leader in the New England legal community. An accomplished business litigator and a “Top 40 Under 40” criminal defense attorney, he has also been honored as a New England Super Lawyer/Rising Star in the area of White-Collar Criminal Defense for each of the past six years by Boston Magazine.

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