San Francisco bans use of facial recognition technology by police

San Francisco Becomes First US City To Ban Facial Recognition Software

San Francisco Becomes First US City To Ban Facial Recognition Software

San Francisco supervisors on Tuesday approved a ban on police and other public agencies using facial recognition technology, making it the first city in the USA with such a restriction, CBS San Francisco reported.

All but one of the nine members of San Francisco's board of supervisors endorsed the legislation, which will be voted on again next week in a procedural step not expected to change the outcome.

San Francisco's face ID ban will apply to city departments, but not to personal, business or federal use.

The law could ratchet up tensions on companies such as Amazon who have sought to sell facial-recognition systems to police agencies, citing their potential benefits in finding missing children or pursuing criminals. They are created to identify specific people from live video feeds, recorded video footage or still photos, often by comparing their features with a set of faces (such as mugshots).

San Francisco yesterday became the first USA city to ban use of facial recognition technology by police or other government agencies.

The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a non-profit think tank based in Washington, DC, issued a statement chiding San Francisco for considering the facial recognition ban.

"With this vote, San Francisco has declared that face surveillance technology is incompatible with a healthy democracy and that residents deserve a voice in decisions about high-tech surveillance", said Matt Cagle from the American Civil Liberties Union in Northern California. The technology has been credited with helping police capture risky criminals, but also criticized for mistaken identifications.

Georgetown University researchers have found that if you're an adult in America, there's more than a 50 percent chance that you're already in a law enforcement facial recognition database, according to The New York Times. "Big Sister is watching us", she said, "and yet we don't even know how those pictures are being used".

That is not to say everybody is behind San Francisco's plan.

Facial recognition has improved dramatically in recent years due to the popularity of a powerful form of machine learning called deep learning. There are concerns that they are not as effective at correctly recognizing people of color and women.

The ACLU is one of many civil-rights groups supporting the ordinance.

Suffice to say, San Francisco is home to quite a few programmers and other technology workers employed throughout the Bay Area and Silicon Valley, where facial recognition and AI is the tech du jour and exported into markets around the world.

It is also tacks a completely opposite tack to other Western cities like London, which has introduced a vast network of cameras that captures a huge amount of activity going on in the capital. A bipartisan bill introduced in the U.S. Senate in March would ban companies, but not governments, from collecting facial-recognition data without consent.

Banning facial recognition would undercut public safety, it argued in June 2018. That process will include submitting information about the technology and how it will be used, and presenting it at a public hearing.

Additionally, any plans to buy any kind of new surveillance technology must now be approved by city administrators.

The vote was passed by San Francisco's supervisors 8-1, with two absentees.

Peskin said the order was not an anti-technology policy.

Joel Engardio is vice president of the grassroots group Stop Crime SF.

Both in the private and public sphere there has been pushback against use of the technology.

Notícias recomendadas

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.