Accession Number:



Biometrics: A Look at Facial Recognition

Descriptive Note:

Corporate Author:


Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



During the 2002 General Assembly, Delegate H. Morgan Griffith sponsored legislation that would set legal parameters for public sector use of facial recognition technology in Virginia. The legislation, known as House Bill No. 454 included as an Appendix, passed the House of Delegates by a vote of 74-25 earlier this year, and is pending in the Senate Courts of Justice Committee while the Virginia State Crime Commission examines it. The Virginia State Crime Commission, a standing legislative commission of the Virginia General Assembly, is statutorily mandated to make recommendations on all areas of public safety in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Currently, Virginia Beach is the only municipality in Virginia planning to incorporate facial recognition technology into its public safety efforts. Late last year, the Virginia Beach City Council approved a measure authorizing the installation of a facial recognition system in the citys Oceanfront tourist area. The system has been tested and has recently been fully implemented. Senator Kenneth W. Stolle, the Chairman of the Virginia State Crime Commission, established a Facial Recognition Technology Sub-Committee to examine the issue of facial recognition technology. This briefing begins by defining biometrics and discussing examples of the technology. It then explains how biometrics may be used for authentication and surveillance purposes. Facial recognition is examined in depth to include technical, operational, and testing considerations. This briefing concludes with a discussion of the legal status quo with respect to public sector use of facial recognition. While not making a specific policy recommendation with respect to House Bill No. 454, this briefing hopefully provides useful information for Sub-Committee members, the Virginia State Crime Commission, and other interested parties.

Subject Categories:

  • Biomedical Instrumentation and Bioengineering

Distribution Statement: