Clarke Introduces Legislation to Ban Usage of Facial Recognition & Biometric Identification Technology in Public Housing

Washington, D.C. — Today, Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke (D-NY), along with Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), introduced the No Biometric Barriers Housing Act of 2023 to prohibit the usage of facial and biometric recognition technology in most federally funded public housing and require the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to submit a comprehensive report to Congress about how this emerging technology impacts the public housing sector and its tenants.

“In its current state, facial recognition technology is undeniably flawed – we know the accuracy of facial recognition technology significantly decreases when screening people of color and women, just as we know real harms and hardships have come to individuals from these groups when victimized by false identification. It’s vital that safeguards and regulations are implemented to address these rampant biases and serious privacy concerns before we allow this technology with proven harmful consequences to become ubiquitous in our communities,” said Congresswoman Clarke.

“Facial recognition technology is flawed, biased and exacerbates the surveillance and criminalization people of color already face,” said Congresswoman Pressley. “I am proud to reintroduce the No Biometric Barriers to Housing Act with Representatives Clarke and Tlaib to ban the use of facial recognition and other biometric technologies in HUD-funded properties. Tenants in public housing deserve to have their civil rights and liberties protected, and this bill would help to do just that.”

“Biometric and facial recognition technology perpetuates systemic racism and is known to be inaccurate and deeply flawed—disproportionately targeting and misidentifying our Black neighbors. We have already seen the impact in Metro Detroit with false arrests including a Black woman who was eight months pregnant. HUD resources should be spent on providing safe, stable, and affordable housing to every resident who needs it — not fueling the overcriminalization of marginalized communities. Biometric surveillance has no place in public housing,” said Congresswoman Tlaib.

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