Sale of Facial Recognition to police departments to be banned

Facial recognition was being used by many institutions located in many states for the easy classification and identification of people entering and exiting or being admitted to it. Furthermore, it helped the police to easily solve petty crime cases.

But on Tuesday, in the city of San Francisco, a decree was approved which barred the police from using this facial recognition technology on the residents. It is the first such ban on technology in the country, and it certainly will not be the last.

It was passed by 8 to 1 votes. Thus, introducing a process for the police to disclose other surveillance technologies.

Citizen liberty at risk

The ordinance also bans them from using other technologies that make use of such prospects – license plate readers or cell site simulators which are able to track every movement of the residents in its vicinity. Hence jeopardizing the free movement and liberty of the people in the city.

Brian Hofer, the executive director of the privacy advocacy group Secure Justice said, “Facial surveillance technology is a huge legal and civil liberties risk now due to its significant error rate, and it will be worse when it becomes perfectly accurate mass surveillance tracking us as we move about our daily lives.”

ACLU of Northern California and various other advocacy groups joined in on the bill introduced by Supervisor Aaron Peskin.

Who else is going to jump in on the bandwagon?

San Francisco isn’t the only one to ban the use of facial recognition technology, Oakland and Berkeley in California along with Somerville, Massachusetts are considering to follow the steps.

This is part of a larger backlash against the technology from privacy advocates, lawmakers, and many tech companies.

Microsoft enters the scene

Microsoft asks the federal government to regulate the use of this technology before it gets any more widespread. And it declined its sale to law enforcement. The use of facial recognition has become pervasive in shopping centers and airports as companies like Amazon sells these to the police department.

Mana Azarmi, a law advocate at the Center for Democracy and Technology said, “The ban sends a signal to law enforcement around the country that if they want to use facial recognition technology, they’ll have to convince the public that it can be used in a rights-respecting manner and that the bias issues with the technology have been addressed.”

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