San Francisco bans facial recognition software after privacy and liberty infringement

San Francisco legislators voted to ban use of facial recognition software, the first US city to do so.

The newer technology wouldn’t be used by city’s transport authority, or law enforcement. Additionally any new surveillance law would have to be approved by the city’s administrators.

Pro-tech users said that it will put people’s safety at risk and hinder efforts to fight crime. However, those who were against it said added that technology poses an unnecessary infringement on people’s privacy and liberty.

Anti-tech users claimed that the technology systems are error prone, particularly when dealing with women or people with darker skin.

Matt Cagle from the American Civil Liberties Union in Northern California said, “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. We applaud the city for listening to the community, and leading the way forward with this crucial legislation. Other cities should take note and set up similar safeguards to protect people’s safety and civil rights.”

The law would become official after a second vote next week, the first vote hurdle was passed by San Francisco’s supervisors 8-1, with two absentees.

The vice-president of Stop Crime SF  Joel Engardio was unhappy with the ban stating, “We agree there are problems with facial recognition ID technology and it should not be used today. But the technology will improve and it could be a useful tool for public safety when used responsibly. We should keep the door open for that possibility.”

The new rule wouldn’t be applied to airports, ports or agencies that are ruled by the federal.

Source : Various