Local officials react to Gov. Baker’s support of facial recognition to arrest rioters

Hampden County

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Local officials are speaking out after Governor Charlie Baker said he supported the use of facial recognition software to arrest rioters after the attack on Capitol Hill.

Facial recognition software has been controversial here in Massachusetts, with opponents arguing that the technology often misidentifies people of color.

In Springfield, there has been a moratorium on the use of facial recognition software. State Representative Orlando Ramos sponsored the moratorium with the Springfield City Council.

Ramos told 22News he does not condone the attack on Capitol Hill and those who broke the law should be prosecuted. But he said he is concerned that there are no regulations in place to prevent the misuse of facial recognition technology.

“There’s also a concern that this could lead to mass surveillance,” said Ramos. “We all have the right to privacy and no one wants to live in a society where they are being watched and tracked, and to find their government everywhere they go.”

The state has recently signed a police reform bill that allows police to use facial recognition to help in criminal cases or cases where the public is at risk.

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