Senators Fateh, Lucero Statement on Mall of America Facial Recognition Technology

SAINT PAUL, Minn.  In response to the recent announcement by the Mall of America that it had implemented a facial recognition system, Senator Omar Fateh (DFL-Minneapolis) and Senator Eric Lucero (R-Saint Michael) issued the following statement:

“Many view non-consensual capturing, storing, mining, and third-party sharing of biometric facial recognition data as a first-degree violation and direct assault on privacy. The Mall of America’s recent announcement regarding the implementation of facial recognition technology contributes to privacy threat against millions of Minnesotans and visitors to our state,” Lucero said. “Public policy concerns surrounding privacy rights and facial recognition technologies have yet to be resolved, including the high risks of abuse, data breaches, identity theft, liability and accountability. It is very clear the continued implementation of facial recognition technology should not move forward until concerns are addressed, including input from citizens, civil liberty and data practices advocates, and state and local government officials.”

“The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has reported facial recognition technology misidentifies people of color at a rate as high as 40 percent. The potential for racial profiling, harassment and false arrests is clear,” Fateh said. “Even in cases where the system does identify someone correctly, it is not yet clear how that data will be stored, distributed or protected from data breaches. The Mall of America is a major public institution for our state and should not take this dramatic new step without explaining to citizens how this would work, and why this invasion of privacy and violation of civil liberties is necessary. Legislators spanning the political spectrum have serious questions of the Mall and its technology vendor, and should consider legislation to regulate or ban this alarming new technology. We hope to act on these concerns as soon as possible, including if a special session is called this year.”

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Omar Fateh represents Senate District 62, which covers the community of South Minneapolis.

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