Montpelier, Vt.—The ACLU of Vermont celebrates the enactment of S.124, which establishes the strongest limits in the country on law enforcement use of facial recognition technology. Governor Scott signed the bill into law on Wednesday, making Vermont one of a handful of states to limit police use of facial recognition technology statewide. Other states have enacted similar measures, but their laws are limited to police body cameras. Under Vermont’s new law, police would be prohibited from using facial recognition technology without the express consent of the legislature.

ACLU of Vermont Advocacy Director Falko Schilling: “This is a historic win for Vermonters’ right to privacy, and an important step towards increasing police accountability and racial justice in this state and nationwide. By enacting the broadest outright ban on police use of facial recognition in the country, Vermont has taken the lead in protecting residents’ civil liberties from this invasive and inaccurate technology.

Facial recognition technologies pose a real threat of 24-hour police surveillance and have been shown to misidentify women and people who are BIPOC at unacceptably high rates. This bill sends a clear message that instead of a discriminatory police state, Vermonters want to create communities where everyone can feel safe, regardless of what they look like, where they are from, or where they live.

We thank the governor and the legislature for taking this important step to limit police surveillance and to safeguard the privacy and liberty of all Vermonters. We look forward to building on this historic victory and we urge other state legislatures to follow suit.”   

The text of S.124 is here.