NEWS16 May 2019

San Francisco bans facial recognition

AI News North America Privacy

US – Officials in San Francisco have voted eight to one to ban the use of facial recognition tools by local agencies including the city’s transport and law enforcement authorities.

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San Francisco is the first US city to ban the technology. It will also require city departments to allow surveillance technology policies to be publicly vetted and is due for a second vote next week by the city’s Board of Supervisors which will make it law if passed.

The vote comes amid concerns about the reliability of the technology, particularly in recognising women and people with darker skin.

According to Reuters, Aaron Peskin, the city’s supervisor who was behind the ban, said the aim was to protect marginalised groups: “We have a fundamental duty to safeguard the public from potential abuses.”

He argued that the decision was not anti-technology as it continues to allow surveillance tools such as security cameras.