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What Law Enforcement needs to know before using Facial Recognition Technology in Virginia

By Clearview AI BLOG


In 2022, Virginia passed legislation (SB 741) that allows law enforcement and government agencies to use facial recognition technology, reversing the state's complete ban that was enacted in 2021. The law mandates that law enforcement agencies must:

  1. Implement a facial recognition policy in place before trial or purchase

  2. Produce an annual report with transparent reporting and audit trails

  3. Use technology that has achieved required levels of accuracy across all demographics by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (“NIST”)

  4. Complete training on the responsible use of facial recognition technology

The following blog post will take you through some of the requirements, and demonstrate how Clearview AI enables law enforcement in Virginia to comply with SB 741, so your agency can start using facial recognition technology to help combat crime and keep your community safe!

Making the technology solely available for law enforcement use.


On May 11, 2023, the Virginia Department of General Services (DGS) released a list of approved facial recognition algorithms for law enforcement purposes, which includes Clearview AI.

The algorithms that are approved by the Division of Purchases and Supply (DPS) have shown an accuracy score of no less than 98 percent true positives in either the 1:1 verification evaluation across at least five datasets or in the 1:N (many) identification evaluation across at least three datasets, as evaluated by NIST.

Making the technology solely available for law enforcement use.


Your law enforcement agency should have a publicly posted facial recognition technology (“FRT”) policy that meets or exceeds the requirements of the model policy developed by the Virginia State Police. To read the model FRT policy, click here and then “State Police Model Facial Recognition Technology Policy.”

Once your agency has a publicly published policy, Virginia agencies can use facial recognition on a trial or full purchase. Good policies take time, so the earlier you can start on this process, the better.

Providing monitoring tools for agency administrators.


At least 30 days prior to procuring facial recognition technology, a local law-enforcement agency shall notify in writing the governing body of the locality that such agency serves (such as your city council) of such intended procurement, but such notice shall not be required if such procurement is directed by the governing body.

Making the technology solely available for law enforcement use.


Under SB 741, local law enforcement agencies in Virginia must maintain records sufficient to facilitate discovery in criminal proceedings, post-conviction proceedings, public reporting, and auditing of compliance with such agency's facial recognition technology policies pertaining to:

  • A complete history of each user's queries;

  • The total number of queries conducted;

  • The number of queries that resulted in a list of possible candidates;

  • How many times an examiner offered law enforcement an investigative lead based on his findings;

  • How many cases were closed due to an investigative lead from facial recognition technology;

  • What types of criminal offenses are being investigated;

  • The nature of the image repository being compared or queried;

  • Demographic information for the individuals whose images are queried; and

  • If applicable, any other entities with which the agency shared facial recognition data.

Clearview AI’s facial recognition software includes strong compliance features for law enforcement to easily gather, audit, and report on this information. Clearview AI makes it easy for leadership to communicate the value of facial recognition to their communities with built-in compliance capabilities:

  • Requiring case number and crime type before conducting a search

  • Capture success stories and catalog impact of searches with the investigative workflow

  • Comprehensive usage reports to capture feedback, justify ROI, audit and manage searches, metrics and outcomes

  • PDF exports with enhanced visibility into the details of the investigation for better management and oversight

Making the technology solely available for law enforcement use.


Any Chief of Police whose agency uses facial recognition technology shall annually publish a report regarding the agency's use of facial recognition technology, including:

  • All data for records required to be maintained (as stated above);

  • All instances of unauthorized access of the facial recognition technology, including any unauthorized access by employees of the agency;

  • Vendor information, including the specific algorithms employed; and

  • If applicable, data or links related to third-party testing of such algorithms, including any reference to variations in demographic performance.

Clearview AI’s technology allows the ability to generate reports that comply with SB 741’s requirements. With just a few clicks, an administrator can generate a report that shows the number of searches for a certain date range, and what type of crimes and investigations they were performed for.

Our strong cybersecurity features allow oversight into user accounts, revoking or reinstating access, and frequency of use. Additionally, Clearview AI has achieved SOC 2 Type II compliance, the gold standard in the cybersecurity field, and conducts regular cybersecurity tests. Learn more about SOC2 >

Making the technology solely available for law enforcement use.


SB 741 addresses accuracy concerns by being the first jurisdiction in the U.S. to mandate that, whichever FRT algorithm is used, that it must score above 98 percent across all demographics according to NIST.

In recent NIST testing, Clearview AI’s algorithm consistently achieved greater than 99 percent accuracy across all demographics helping law enforcement accurately and rapidly identify suspects, investigate crimes, enhance public safety and provide justice to victims. Learn More about Clearview AI’s results >

Making the technology solely available for law enforcement use.


SB 741 allows certain uses of FRT by law enforcement, which covers after the crime forensic investigations.The law lists certain authorized law enforcement uses for facial recognition technology. These include:

  • Helping to identify an individual reasonably suspected of committing a crime;

  • Help to identify an unidetified crime victim, including a victim of online sexual abuse material

  • Helping to identify a person who may be a missing person or witness to criminal activity

  • Helping to identify a victim of human trafficking or an individual involved in the trafficking of humans, weapons, drugs, or wildlife;

  • Helping to identify an online recruiter of criminal activity, including but not limited to human, weapon, drug, and wildlife trafficking.

  • Helping a person who is suffering from a mental or physical disability impairing his ability to communicate and be understood

  • Helping to identify a deceased person

  • Helping to identify a person who is incapacitated or otherwise unable to identify himself

  • Helping to identify a person who is reasonably believed to be a danger to himself or others

  • Helping to identify an individual lawfully detained

  • Helping mitigate an imminent threat to public safety, a significant threat to life, or a threat to national security, including acts of terrorism;

  • Ensuring officer safety as part of the vetting of undercover law enforcement

  • Determining whether an individual may have unlawfully obtained one or more state driver's licenses, financial instruments, or other official forms of identification using information that is fictitious or associated with a victim of identity theft;

  • Helping to identify a person who an officer reasonably believes is concealing his true identity and about whom the officer has a reasonable suspicion has committed a crime other than concealing his identity.

For example, authorized uses include to help identify an individual when there is a reasonable suspicion the individual has committed a crime, to help identify a victim of crime, including a victim of online sexual abuse material.

Making the technology solely available for law enforcement use.


SB 741 prohibits certain uses of FRT by law enforcement. These include:

  • Real-time tracking of an individual in a public place

  • Creating a database of images using a live video feed for the purpose of using FRT and the prohibition of FRT as the sole evidence for an issuance of a search warrant or arrest warrant

  • Providing images to FRT providers for further commercial use in a database by the FRT vendor. Images sent to commercial . FRT vendors can be retained, but only for auditing or another lawful reason. Clearview AI’s system does not add images submitted by users to its own database of searchable images, and only retains images submitted by users to facilitate audits and oversight by that agency.

Making the technology solely available for law enforcement use.


We are honored to be partnering with Virginia law enforcement on the responsible deployment of facial recognition technology to keep Virginia communities safer.

Law enforcement, please request a demo for your agency or get help by guiding your agency with the requirements of SB 741 by filling out this form.


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