San Francisco will be the first city in the U.S. to ban the government from using facial recognition technology, if a legislation that was tabelled yesterday, stands approved.
The ‘Stop Secret Oversight Ordinance’, will be proposed by Supervisor Aaron Peskin. The legislation seeks to do the following:
- Departments in the city will have to seek approval from the Board of Supervisors before using or buying surveillance technology
- The legislation would implement annual audits of surveillance technology in order to ensure that the tools involved are properly used.
- A blanket ban will be issued that stops departments from purchasing or using facial recognition technology.
The legislation, which would also apply to law enforcement, will be heard in committee next month. It has already obtained support from civil rights groups like the ACLU of Northern California.
HISTORIC FIRST: Today a San Francisco lawmaker introduced legislation that would make the city the first in the nation to ban the govt’s use of FACE SURVEILLANCE technology. https://t.co/btR0xI5XFG pic.twitter.com/n89HDVC530
— Matt Cagle (@Matt_Cagle) January 30, 2019
The legislation also makes a strong point that ‘surveillance efforts have historically been used to intimidate and oppress certain communities and groups more than others, including those that are defined by a common race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, income level, sexual orientation, or political perspective. The propensity for facial recognition technology to endanger civil rights and civil liberties substantially outweighs its purported benefits, and the technology will exacerbate racial injustice and threaten our ability to live free of continuous government monitoring’.
The news comes at a time where facial recognition technology stands at the realms of debate between various privacy and security personnel. While the tech has been put to good use by various organizations, we can’t help but notice the negative impacts it can have on citizens. Take for instance the WEF 2019 talk that pointed out the role of governments and military in the use (and potential abuse) of today’s technology.
Users on Twitter displayed reactions along the same line, expressing their relief that the government will no longer be able to “invade and micromanage the privacy of others.” Some also have called Facial recognition used by the government as ‘Dangerous’.
We don't have to accept these dangerous systems as inevitable! We can fight back! @ACLU_WA and @ACLU_Mass are supporting legislation that would impose a moratorium on government use of facial recognition! Bills here:
— jevan (@jevanhutson) January 29, 2019
SF introduces groundbreaking ordinance -says NO to dangerous face surveillance & says YES to public oversight of all surveillance proposals
— Nicole Ozer (@NicoleOzer) January 30, 2019
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