San Francisco becomes first US city to ban face recognition

In a major move, San Francisco has become the first city in the US to ban the use of facial recognition technology. The officials passed vote 8-to-1 which forbids the ban on local agencies including the police. “With this vote, San Francisco has declared that face surveillance technology is incompatible with a healthy democracy and that residents deserve a voice in decisions about high-tech surveillance,” said Matt Cagle from the American Civil Liberties Union in Northern California.

“We applaud the city for listening to the community and leading the way forward with this crucial legislation. Other cities should take note and set up similar safeguards to protect people’s safety and civil rights,” he added. Meanwhile, the ban also had its opponents underlining how the ban would put people’s lives at stake and would exacerbate to curb crime.

Joel Engardio, vice-president of Stop Crime SF didn’t rule in the favour of the ban and suggested for temporary measures. He says, “Instead of an outright ban, we believe a moratorium would have been more appropriate. We agree there are problems with facial recognition ID technology and it should not be used today. But the technology will improve and it could be a useful tool for public safety when used responsibly. We should keep the door open for that possibility”.

The order would come into effect in coming weeks after the second voting process is done.