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San Francisco could ban official use of facial recognition technology

San Francisco could ban official use of facial recognition technology

San Francisco officials have voted to ban the use of facial recognition technology by city personnel, in a move to regulate tools that local Silicon Valley companies helped develop, reports Reuters. “The ordinance, which also would require city departments to submit surveillance technology policies for public vetting, can become final after a second vote by the same officials, the city’s Board of Supervisors. The action puts San Francisco at the forefront of increasing discontent in the US over facial recognition, which government agencies have used for years and now has become more powerful with the rise of cloud computing and artificial intelligence technologies.” “We have a fundamental duty to safeguard the public from potential abuses,” Aaron Peskin, the city supervisor who championed the ban, said before the board’s vote. “Peskin said the ordinance was not an anti-technology policy. It allows continued use of surveillance tools like security cameras; the district attorney or sheriff can make an appeal to use certain restricted technology in exceptional circumstances as well. Rather, Peskin said, the aim is to protect ‘marginalised groups’ that could be harmed by the technology.” For instance, Amazon has come under scrutiny since last year for selling an image analysis and ID service to law enforcement. Civil rights groups and companies including Microsoft, which markets a facial recognition service, have called for regulation of the technology in recent months. Read more and ordinance here.

  • Wednesday, 15 May 2019

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