San Francisco Bans Facial Recognition Tech for Police, City Use

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors reportedly banned the use of facial recognition technology by police and municipal agencies on Tuesday, making it the first major city to enact such a ban. According to The New York Times, the ban passed the board in a 8-1 vote. Aaron Peskin—the city supervisor who announced the bill—described the ban as a strong message to the rest of the U.S. about the use of such technology. “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,” he said. “We have an outsize responsibility to regulate the excesses of technology precisely because they are headquartered here.” San Francisco police don’t currently use facial recognition technology, except in the city’s airport and other ports—which are “under federal jurisdiction” and will not be affected by the ban. Similar bans are reportedly under consideration in Oakland and in Somerville, Massachusetts. A bill was also introduced to Congress last month which proposed banning users of commercial facial recognition technology from collecting and sharing the data in order to track customers.