San Francisco Supervisor Proposes First Ever Ban on Facial Recognition Technology

San Francisco could soon become the first city to ban facial recognition technology under an ordinance proposed Tuesday by Supervisor Aaron Peskin.

The ban on local agencies’ use of the bourgeoning technology is part of a larger package of rules aimed at strengthening privacy rights in the Bay City. Peskin’s plan would also require agencies to get board approval before purchasing new surveillance equipment and would mandate audits of existing surveillance technology.

Much of Peskin’s proposal is similar to ordinances already implemented in Oakland and Santa Clara County. The ban on facial recognition tech is an exception, however.

“This is the first piece of legislation that I’ve seen that really takes facial recognition technology as seriously as it is warranted and treats it as uniquely dangerous,” Woodrow Hartzog, professor of law and computer science at Northeastern University told Wired Magazine

Peskin’s distrust of big tech is well-known. His latest proposal, which was cosponsored by Board of Supervisors president Norman Yee, is sure to receive pushback from local law enforcement.


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