San Francisco bans facial recognition technology

San Francisco bans facial recognition technology

  • May 14, 2019.SAN FRANCISCO – San Francisco, long at the heart of the technology revolution, took a stand against potential abuse on Tuesday by banning the use of facial recognition software by the police and other agencies.
  • On Capitol Hill, a bill introduced last month would ban users of commercial face recognition technology from collecting and sharing data for identifying or tracking consumers without their consent, although it does not address the government’s uses of the technology.
  • Matt Cagle, a lawyer with the A.C.L.U. of Northern California, on Tuesday summed up the broad concerns of facial recognition: The technology, he said, “Provides government with unprecedented power to track people going about their daily lives. That’s incompatible with a healthy democracy.”
  • The facial recognition fight in San Francisco is largely theoretical – the police department does not currently deploy such technology, and it is only in use at the international airport and ports that are under federal jurisdiction and are not impacted by the legislation.
  • The ban prohibits city agencies from using facial recognition technology, or information gleaned from external systems that use the technology.
  • In the last few years, facial recognition technology has improved and spread at lightning speed, powered by the rise of cloud computing, machine learning and extremely precise digital cameras.
  • Joel Engardio, the vice president of Stop Crime SF, said that he agreed that current facial recognition technologies were flawed, but said that the city should not prohibit their use in the future, if they were improved.