RAND Analyst Submits Testimony on Biometrics Bill

In July 2001, the Judiciary Committee of the California State Assembly asked RAND's John Woodward to submit written testimony concerning California State Senate Bill 169, proposed legislation to regulate the public and private sector use of biometric facial recognition. Woodward submitted Super Bowl Surveillance: Facing Up to Biometrics (IP-209), the Arroyo Center-sponsored Issue Paper that he authored. The report was distributed to all committee members and staff.

In his written testimony, Woodward concluded that "Biometric facial recognition can provide significant benefits to society. At the same time, the rapid growth and improvement in the technology could threaten individual privacy rights. The concern with balancing the privacy of the citizen against the government interest occurs with almost all law enforcement techniques, however; and we should not let the fear of potential but inchoate threats to privacy, such as super surveillance, deter us from using facial recognition where it can produce positive benefits."

The legislation is currently pending before the Assembly Judiciary Committee.