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San Francisco first city to ban facial recognition

In an 8-1 vote last week city lawmakers in San Francisco were the first US municipality to ban the use of facial recognition surveillance technology on all city facilities and operations, including police who will now require a warrant to access facial recognition data.

City supervisor Aaron Peskin says “there are many ways to make our city safe without making it into a police state.”

San Francisco is considered an early adopter and leader in the use of “smart city” technologies, but this experience has led them to identify the danger of encroaching on fundamental rights and freedoms of citizens and employees to privacy, freedom of movement & association in a #democracy. China, for instance, is already using surveillance technology such as facial recognition to crack down on political dissent and restrict movement.

Matt Cagle, a lawyer with ACLU in North California says that this technology provides government, private companies and employers with “unprecedented power to track people going about their daily lives. That’s incompatible with a healthy democracy.”

Oakland and Somerville, Mass. are considering similar bans.



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