Although San Francisco’s police department has stopped the use of facial identity recognition since 2017, a new bill has been passed banning the use of facial recognition software as a part of means to curb the excessive use of technology.
The legislation was passed on Tuesday after the city’s supervisors voted to ban the use by police and every city department. The bill was sponsored by Supervisor Aaron Peskin, who expresses his worries that big Brother technology will instigate a higher police state in San Francisco, a state brewing with tech innovations.
Peskin represents neighborhoods located in the city’s northeast. He claims it is the legislators’ responsibility to regulate the excessive use of technology since they are headquartered in San Francisco which gives full access to them.
The ban on the use of face recognition is a part of the legislation which requires city departments to obtain board approval and establish usage policies for the purchase and use of existing surveillance technology. The ban affects the San Francisco police and other municipal departments but does not affect business, personal and technology use by the federal government at the airport and seaports.
Critics have expressed their displeasure claiming San Francisco is a city with high profile events and property crime. According to Meredith Serra who is a member of Stop Crime, a resident of public safety group, the police force will need as much help as they can get and people requesting for privacy isn’t enough reason to make such a law when there are enough cellphones and surveillance cameras to invade their privacy. She believes the ordinance is just a layer of bureaucracy which does not improve the safety of citizens in anyways.