San Francisco Ban Facial Recognition
San Francisco becomes the first US city to ban the use of facial recognition tools.
15:34 16 May 2019
San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors has approved the Stop Secret Surveillance ordinance on Tuesday banning the use of facial recognition tools on the grounds that the technology may be too intrusive. The law will take effect 180 days after a second reading of the measure next week.
The move is the culmination of a reexamination of city police policy following the false arrest of Denise Green in 2014. Green was pulled over by police after her Lexus was misidentified as a stolen vehicle by a license-plate reader. She was forced out of the car and onto her knees at gunpoint by six officers. She then filed lawsuits that the city settled for $500,000.
Matt Cagle, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union who helped draft the law, said: “The central motivator here is public safety, while making sure police can do their jobs. We’ve learned a lot about facial recognition and seen how it’s been used in places like China to track and control populations. The public increasingly understands the threat this technology can pose and that isn’t what they want.”
Six other Northern California municipalities have also recently adopted stricter regulations on the use of surveillance technology.