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San Francisco Could Be First To Ban Facial Recognition Technology

San Francisco Could Be First To Ban Facial Recognition Technology

If a Local Tech Industry Critic has his way, San Francisco could become the first US city to ban its agencies from using facial recognition technology.

Aaron Peskin, a member of the city’s Board of Supervisors, proposed the ban Tuesday as part of a suite of rules to enhance surveillance oversight. In addition to the ban on facial recognition technology, the ordinance would require city agencies to gain the board’s approval before buying new surveillance technology, putting the burden on city agencies to publicly explain why they want the tools as well as the potential harms.

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It would also require an audit of any existing surveillance tech—things like gunshot-detection systems, surveillance cameras, or automatic license plate readers—in use by the city; officials would have to report annually on how the technology was used, community complaints, and with whom they share the data.

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