The ACLU of Maine says state regulators should eliminate the requirement that multiple video cameras be placed inside and outside adult-facing cannabis businesses, arguing it violates Maine’s ban. on facial recognition surveillance.
The requirement, which appears in draft rules for the state’s Adult or Recreational Marijuana Program Regulatory Framework, “would unnecessarily expose customers and cannabis industry workers to tracking and collection.” privacy-invasive data,” the ACLU said. in a letter to the Maine Office of Cannabis Policy this week.
But the Office of Cannabis Policy, part of the Department of Administrative and Financial Services, says the draft rules simply update existing video surveillance requirements for cannabis businesses to cover the delivery of newly acquired cannabis. approved.
“This requirement is not and never has been a facial recognition requirement,” said Sharon Huntley, spokeswoman for the Department of Administrative and Financial Services.
“This is an extension of the existing requirements for retail cameras – the same requirements that have been extended to authorized delivery activity, which has already been approved by the legislature,” Huntley said.
Rulemaking is ongoing, and the Office of Cannabis Policy will comment, offer responses, and pass new regulations soon, Huntley said.
The ACLU says the surveillance requirement violates Maine state law because cannabis retailers must record and store videos of shoppers’ faces and report that data to public authorities.
Maine passed a law last year that protects state residents from government facial recognition software, said ACLU of Maine policy adviser Michael Kebede.
“What the Cannabis Rule requires is a surveillance system to monitor a purchaser’s identity and guarantee facial identification. Our contention is that the only way to achieve this is to violate the face ban,” Kebede said.
All cannabis businesses in the state’s adult use program, including growers, testing labs, producers, and retail stores, require multiple digital cameras at all entrances and exits and at all entrances and exits. ‘a sufficient number inside to cover their activities, from cultivation to testing, processing and sales, according to the rules.
In retail stores, cameras should be placed at every point of sale to monitor every shopper and “ensure face ID”.
Camera footage must be stored for 45 days, subject to random inspection, and provided to employees of the Department of Administrative and Financial Services upon request.
The updated rules would require stores to use mobile cameras to record all delivery transactions and “ensure facial identity”.
Maine’s law followed Portland’s ban on facial recognition programs and came in response to concerns that law enforcement might use such programs without public knowledge.
THE LAW HAS LIMITED EXCEPTIONS
By law, state and local governments are prohibited from using or accessing facial surveillance systems and cannot contract or authorize third parties to use such systems on their behalf.
The law provides limited exemptions, including for serious crimes, to help identify a dead or missing person, when searching through the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, or to specific uses in prisons.
The definition of “facial surveillance” in the law is an automated or semi-automated process that identifies someone or captures information about a person based on their physical characteristics.
The Adult Cannabis Rule does not appear to require companies to have such a sophisticated system. But the ACLU said the only feasible way to identify faces in surveillance footage is through an automated process, putting the rule in violation of the law.
“There is no compelling justification for the ubiquitous video surveillance of cannabis establishments,” the group said. “Indeed, nothing in the marijuana legalization act requires video surveillance – much less facial identification technology – to be part of how the state regulates cannabis establishments.”
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