San Francisco Bans Facial Recognition Technology
It is the first ban by a major city on the use of facial recognition technology by the police and all other municipal agencies. SAN FRANCISCO — San Francisco, long at the heart of the technology revolution, took a stand against potential abuse on Tuesday by banning the use of facial recognition software by the police and other agencies.
The action, which came in an 8-to-1 vote by the Board of Supervisors, makes San Francisco the first major American city to block a tool that many police forces are turning to in the search for both small-time criminal suspects and perpetrators of mass carnage.
The authorities used the technology to help identify the suspect in the mass shooting at an Annapolis, Md., newspaper last June. But civil liberty groups have expressed unease about the technology’s potential abuse by government amid fears that it may shove the United States in the direction of an overly oppressive surveillance state.
[Facial recognition technology has stoked controversy over the years. Here’s a look back.]
Aaron Peskin, the city supervisor who sponsored the bill, said that it sent a particularly strong message to the nation, coming from a city transformed by tech.