San Francisco bans facial recognition technology

By on 22 May, 2019

Image: Delta News Hub on Flickr.

San Francisco has become the first US city to ban the use of facial recognition technology by police and other agencies.

Facial recognition technology has become an increasingly utilised tool by government, for both perpetrators of major and minor crimes.

The technology’s use has come under fire by civil rights groups over its potential for abuse and privacy concerns, amid unclear provenance on data sharing between government agencies, and third parties.

San Francisco’s council backed the bill to ban the technology’s use eight to one.

Aaron Peskin, the city supervisor who sponsored the bill, told The New York Times that San Francisco’s status as a globally-renowned technology hub made the ban a strong statement.

“I think part of San Francisco being the real and perceived headquarters for all things tech also comes with a responsibility for its local legislators,” he said.

“We have an outsize responsibility to regulate the excesses of technology precisely because they are headquartered here.”

Critics of the move have argued that regulation mandating responsible use of the technology would find a balance between its utility and abuse.

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