The following comments were read by MediaJustice Co-Executive Director Steven Renderos at a press conference held today in Sacramento, regarding AB 1215, the Body Camera Accountability Act. See below for more details on the press conference, where the results of a new test supporting the bill were also released.

My name is Steven Renderos, I’m the Co-Executive Director at MediaJustice, a national organization based in Oakland, CA and our mission is to build a future in which people of color are connected, represented and free. 

There is a debate we are currently having in this country about public safety. It’s a debate that is at the core of AB 1215. Who is public safety for? 

The revelations of this latest test by the ACLU of Northern CA reaffirms that facial recognition will not keep us safe. If democratically elected state legislators can be misidentified, so can anyone else, especially our state’s most vulnerable residents. Countless studies have all drawn the same conclusion, facial recognition technology is less accurate in identifying women and people of color. Layer this technology on top of racist policing practices and it automates discrimination leading to more people of color being arrested, injured or even killed by police. 

That’s why preventing this invasive technology from being used on the thousands of body worn cameras that currently roam our streets is the best thing to do in order to protect the safety and privacy of all Californians. 

Last week we saw the largest immigration raid tear over 600 families apart in Mississippi. Key to enabling that level of harm and trauma is high-tech surveillance, including facial recognition, that allows the Department of Homeland Security to detain and deport at an unprecedented scale.

In Governor Newsom’s inauguration speech, he vowed “sanctuary for all who seek it.” To help fulfill that promise, the Senate must pass AB 1215 which will prevent discriminatory surveillance and deliver real safety for the residents of this state.

PRESS CONFERENCE DETAILS (via ACLU of Northern California):

Given the high rate at which facial recognition software misidentifies people, it’s clear that using the technology in police body cameras in California would be a massive public safety hazard and a threat to Californians’ fundamental rights. Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), ACLU and others will release new face recognition software test results supporting the urgent need for AB 1215. Assemblymember Ting introduced AB 1215, the Body Camera Accountability Act, to prevent California law enforcement from adding face and other biometric surveillance technology to officer-worn body cameras. The Senate is expected to vote on AB 1215 in the coming weeks.

DATE: Tuesday, August 13 th
TIME: 9:30 a.m.
LOCATION: State Capitol, Room 317
SPEAKERS: Assemblymember Phil Ting, Author of AB 1215; Matt Cagle, Technology and Civil Liberties Attorney, ACLU of Northern California; Oussama Mokeddem, Programs & Outreach Coordinator, CAIR Sacramento Valley; Steven Renderos, Co-Executive Director, MediaJustice



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