Today, Senator Ken Bogner brought forward a bill targeting facial recognition tech in Montana. Senate Bill 397 aims to prohibit state and local governments from using facial recognition technologies for continuous surveillance.

The bill would "regulate technology for individual identification uses and would create strict processes for law enforcement to employ the tech in certain criminal investigations".

As of February 2023, there are no specific regulations in Montana governing facial recognition technology.

Senator Bogner wants to get on top of the issues, before they occur, with this technology:

Facial recognition technology is becoming more widespread and it poses serious risks to Montanans’ privacy and due process rights. Montanans don’t want mass surveillance. It’s important for us to regulate and restrict the government’s use of this invasive technology and protect the rights of our citizens.


Representative Katie Sullivan of Missoula is also on board with the bill:

We can’t afford to wait any longer on this issue. Facial recognition technology is becoming more prevalent every year and it’s being used by more government agencies. The time to act to protect Montanans’ privacy is now.

Recently, Montana Public Radio revealed during the Legislature's interim study that some Montana schools are using the tech to surveil students.

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Senator Mark Noland of Bigfork proposed a complete ban on government usage of the tech during the Legislature's interim study, and has cautioned opponents of Bogner's bill to proceed carefully:

I want to see this technology restricted as much as possible. I’m supporting Senator Bogner’s bill and I encourage would-be opponents to get on board as well. If we can’t come to agreement on reasonable restrictions, I’d be more than happy to completely ban facial recognition.


Tomorrow morning, Thursday, February 23rd at 8:30 am, SB 397 will be heard in the Senate Business and Labor Committee.

What are your thoughts on Facial Recognition in Montana? Where is the line we draw on surveillance? Let us know in App Chat or Facebook.

(Source: Kyle Schmauch, Communications and Policy Manager - Senate Republicans - Montana Legislature)

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