Legislative Assembly | In rare move, Sulu Sou submits own surveillance tech bill

Lawmaker Sulu Sou has submitted a bill to the Legislative Assembly that would restrict the government’s use of particular surveillance technologies. Announced yesterday, the proposed legislation has been designed to halt works advancing the introduction of facial recognition capabilities to public surveillance cameras.

Yesterday, Sou said that he had received confirmation from the Legislative Assembly President, Kou Hoi In, that his bill has been received by the lawmaking body. The bill is now being studied, according to Sou.

The young democrat said that there is no law governing the use of facial recognition in public locations. The lawmaker believes that the current laws in effect do not provide sufficient ground to allow the government to introduce facial recognition technologies.

As a result, he said that the legislature, which he stressed was responsible for supervising the execution of laws, has every right to call to attention the absence of legal grounds for facial recognition.

Sou referenced the law governing vehicle plate number recognition as an example, highlighting the absence of legal grounds for such technology.

As such, without laws allowing the government to introduce facial recognition, the government is committing a breach if it insists to do so.

The lawmaker is also concerned that law enforcement and other government entities have been inconsistent regarding their discourse on facial recognition technology over the past year.

Changes have been made to the number of locations at which the technology will be tested, as well when the tests will start. There has also been some uncertainty regarding which government departments needed to be informed and which were required to greenlight the technology.

Although Sou believes that surveillance cameras can be effective at both deterring and combating crime, he reminds the public about the importance of a balance between safety and privacy.

There is also the threat of lawsuits arising from the use of facial technology, said Sou, referencing cases in the U.S., the U.K. and Hangzhou in mainland China.

He also emphasized that neither he nor his association have protested against the use of public surveillance cameras in general.

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