California will ban police use of facial recognition technology for 3 years

(Ken Kistler/

California will initiate a 3-year ban on the use of facial recognition technology in police body cams beginning January 1, 2020.

AB1215, written by Democratic assemblymember Phil Ting, will automatically repeal on January 1, 2023. Ting had previously proposed a permanent ban on use of the technology.

Ting said the following in a statement on October 8, after Governor Gavin Newsom signed the bill into law:

The public wanted their officers and deputies to use body cameras to provide accountability and transparency for the community. The addition of facial recognition technology essentially turns them into 24-hour surveillance tools, giving law enforcement the ability to track our every move. We cannot become a police state.

Ting's bill made the news earlier in 2019 when the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), a rights group that supports the bill, showed that Amazon's facial recognition software misidentified 1-in-5 California lawmakers, matching them to mugshots stored in police databases.

"It’s not ready for prime time, as it falsely matches innocent people with mugshots, including me," Ting wrote on Twitter.