San Francisco Became The First Major City To Ban Facial Recognition Software

Police union agreed that technology not ‘100 percent accurate.’

Photo Credit: Izusek/Getty Image

| May 20 2019,

8:40 pm

San Francisco has banned the use of facial recognition software by police and other agencies, becoming the first major American city to take such action.

“I think part of San Francisco being the real and perceived headquarters for all things tech also comes with a responsibility for its local legislators,” Aaron Peskin, the city supervisor who sponsored the bill said. “We have an outsize responsibility to regulate the excesses of technology precisely because they are headquartered here.”

“It is ridiculous to deny the value of this technology in securing airports and border installations,” said Jonathan Turley, a constitutional law expert at George Washington University to the New York Times. “It is hard to deny that there is a public safety value to this technology.”

“Although we understand that it’s not a 100 percent accurate technology yet, it’s still evolving,” said Tony Montoya, the president of the association. “I think it has been successful in at least providing leads to criminal investigators.”

According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation cities like Las Vegas, Orlando, San Jose, San Diego, New York City, Boston, Detroit still use the technology.

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