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Tech & Science

San Francisco becomes the first US city to BAN government use of facial recognition

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 15/05/2019 Associated Press

© Illustration by James Bareham / The Verge San Francisco supervisors approved a ban on police using facial recognition technology, making it the first city in the U.S. with such a restriction.

The ban is part of broader oversight legislation that orders San Francisco departments to spell out details of any surveillance currently in use and any surveillance they hope to use.

Departments will need to get board approval to continue using or acquiring technology.

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The vote was 8 to 1, with Supervisor Catherine Stefanie saying she could not vote for legislation that was well-intentioned, but could compromise public safety.

The legislation bans municipal use but not personal, business or federal government use of face ID technology.

San Francisco supervisors are considering surveillance oversight legislation that includes a ban on the use of facial recognition technology by police.

A second vote will be held next week, when it could officially become a law if it gets the board's approval.

The face ID ban would apply to city departments, but not to personal, business or federal use.

Privacy advocates have squared off with public safety proponents at several heated hearings in San Francisco, a city teeming with tech innovation and the home of Twitter, Airbnb and Uber.

Those who support the ban say facial recognition technology is not only flawed, but a serious threat to civil rights. 

Opponents say the police need help catching criminals.


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