Montana lawmakers tell me they are close to finalizing legislation that would put some left-right limits in place regarding the use of facial recognition technology in the state.

Republican State Sen. Ken Bogner (R-Miles City) and Democrat Rep. Katie Sullivan (D-Missoula) are exploring the issue in depth during interim legislative hearings this year and joined us for an update.

Rep. Sullivan offered up legislation in the recent legislative session. She says even she, as a younger more tech savvy lawmaker, has been surprised at just how much technology has changed.

Rep. Katie Sullivan: The technology is moving faster than lawmakers...I've been shocked to learn about all the surveillance technologies that have been coming online, and it's time to have those addressed. At the same time we're all thinking about- how much are we willing to give up in terms of like our privacy and civil liberties, but to pursue public safety, and so it's this really big balancing act that now we're needing to deal with.

Sen. Bogner is the chairman of the committee focusing in on facial recognition technology. He's heard of the abuses of facial recognition technology, but he's also heard examples of how it can be beneficial as well.

Sen. Bogner: We heard some very compelling testimony on how this technology has found minors that had been trafficked, and how the technology had found individuals who were doing the trafficking. And we also heard how beneficial the technology had been with preventing unemployment insurance fraud the last couple of years, especially with some of the COVID funds.

Here's the full audio as Bogner and Sullivan joined us on Montana Talks with Aaron Flint.

The next interim committee meeting is coming up on April 20th and 21st.

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