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Montana: Bill for facial recognition for government use act sent for Governor's signature

Senate Bill 397 for the Facial Recognition for Government Use Act (the Act) was transmitted, on June 20, 2023, to the Montana Governor for final signature. In particular, the Act aims to provide state and local government agencies with guidelines to use, or contract with third parties to use, on their behalf, facial verification technology, and to provide law enforcement agencies the ability to use such technology for investigations of serious crimes.

Requirements on public authorities 

The Act provides for prohibitions on state and local government agencies, among other public entities, on the use of continuous facial surveillance, places restrictions on the use of facial surveillance technology in specific contexts, and imposes conditions on the lawful use of such technology. 

Third-party vendors

The Act sets out obligations on third-party vendors contracted with state or local government agencies for the provision of a facial recognition service, including, among other things, that such vendors must not collect, capture, purchase, receive through trade, or otherwise obtain an individual's facial biometric data in the implementation of the service unless it first:

  • informs the individual in writing that facial biometric data is being collected or stored;
  • informs the individual in writing of the specific purpose and length of term for which facial biometric data is being collected, stored, and used; and
  • receives written consent from the individual authorizing the collection, storage, and use of the individual's facial biometric data.

Importantly, such third-party vendors are also subject to disclosure requirements as well as requirements to establish a retention schedule and guidelines for permanently destroying facial biometric data when the initial purpose for collecting or obtaining the data has been satisfied.


The Act shall come into effect on its passage and approval and provides that a third-party vendor with an existing contract with certain state departments will be required to comply with the provisions of the Act by January 1, 2024.

You can read the Act here and track its progress here

Update: July 3, 2023

Bill for facial recognition for government use signed by Governor and becomes law

The bill was signed into law, on June 29, 2023, by the Governor.

You can read the Act here and view its history here.