Congresswomen Ayana Pressley, D-Mass., Yvette Clarke, D-N.Y., and Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., on July 7 reintroduced legislation in the House to ban facial recognition use in most Federally funded public housing.

The No Biometric Barriers Housing Act of 2021 would “prohibit biometric recognition technology in public and assisted housing units funded under the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).” Additionally, it would require HUD to submit a report to Congress that researches:

  • Any known facial recognition tech usage in public housing units;
  • Emerging technology impact on tenants;
  • Purposes of installing biometric tech in units;
  • Demographic information of impacted tenants; and
  • “The impact of emerging technologies on vulnerable communities in public housing, including tenant privacy, civil rights, and fair housing.”

“Facial recognition technology consistently misidentifies women and people of color and only exacerbates the constant surveillance and criminalization that the most marginalized already face,” said Rep. Pressley in a press release. “This much-needed bill will ban the use of facial recognition and other biometric technologies in HUD funded properties and will help protect the civil rights and liberties of tenants throughout our country.”

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The No Biometric Barriers Housing Act of 2021 was initially introduced by the lawmakers in July 2019.

This new piece of legislation comes on the heels of bicameral legislation reintroduced last month to stop government use of biometric technology, including facial recognition. That legislation was brought forth by Reps. Pressley, Tlaib, and Clarke, along with Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., and in the Senate by Sens. Ed Markey, D-Mass., Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Ron Wyden, D-Ore.

“HUD properties should be focused on providing permanent, safe, and affordable housing to every resident who needs it – not fueling the overcriminalization of marginalized communities. This technology has no place in public housing,” said Rep. Tlaib.

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.