San Francisco supervisors on Tuesday approved a ban on police and other public agencies using facial recognition technology, making it the first city in the us with such a restriction, CBS San Francisco reported.
San Francisco's new rule, which is set to go into effect in a month, forbids the use of facial-recognition technology by the city's 53 departments - including the San Francisco Police Department, which doesn't now use such technology but did test it out between 2013 and 2017.
The ordinance, which also would require city departments to submit surveillance technology policies for public vetting, can become final after a second vote next week by the same officials, the city's Board of Supervisors.
In a statement ahead of the vote, the San Francisco Police Department said it "looks forward" to working with the city's supervisors, the ACLU, and others to develop laws that speak to tech-related privacy worries "while balancing the public safety concerns of our growing, worldwide city".
But those who support the ban say facial recognition technology is flawed and a serious threat to civil liberties.
Oakland, California, and Somerville, Massachusetts, have introduced bans similar to San Francisco's.
In one form or another, facial recognition is already being used in many USA airports and big stadiums, and by a number of other police departments.
But according to the article, facial recognition technology - integrated into China's huge networks of surveillance cameras - has been programmed to look exclusively for Uighurs based on their appearance and keep records of their movements across China.
Speaking to the Guardian last week, Peskin said the new regulations were meant to address concerns about the accuracy of technology and put a stop to creeping surveillance culture.
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It also expands a 2018 law requiring the San Francisco public transportation system Bart to outline how it surveils passengers.
Today's ordinance vote only impacts city departments, and private use of such systems will be unaffected - everything from the latest iPhones to companies with their own security systems to Facebook using photos to identify people.
Chinese authorities are using a vast system of facial recognition technology to track its Uighur Muslim minority across the country, according to a recent story in the New York Times. "Big Sister is watching us", she said, "and yet we don't even know how those pictures are being used". He also expects that the rule will prompt other cities to follow suit.
No longer allowed in San Francisco.
But the San Francisco law may not slow the growth of facial-recognition technology in schools, sporting arenas and airports, which have folded them into their gate areas for an additional layer of identify verification and surveillance.
"We applaud the city for listening to the community, and leading the way forward with this crucial legislation".
"It shall be unlawful for any department to obtain, retain, access, or use any Face Recognition Technology or any information obtained from Face Recognition Technology", read a graph tucked into the lengthy document. Oakland is also now considering whether to ban the use of facial-recognition technology.
Some locals have been vocally opposed to the surveillance ordinance, including several groups of residents.
"When responsibly used, it could be a good public safety tool", Engardio said.