I hope every Texan who voted for candidates calling for smaller government watches closely HB 2337. That bill, which passed out of the Senate Transportation and Homeland Security Committee today, would allow the Texas Department of Public Safety to gather biometric facial recogniton data from Texas drivers, and make it available, along with thumbprints from the civilian database, for law enforcement use without judicial review.
The technology isn't there yet to identify people from video using current facial recognition systems, but it's headed in that direction. The biometric industry's stated long-term goal is to merge their products with closed circuit camera systems to identify individuals from video. Do Texans want their government monitoring them by name as they walk down the street, law abiding, minding their own business? Right now, with votes that may occur at the Legislature this week, Texas is setting the stage for such a scenario. . . . [I]t will be up to future Legislatures or the courts to confront the privacy invasions inherent in the proliferation of generalized, non-probable-cause-based camera surveillance by the government on this scale.