San Francisco officials revise ban, forget government devices have in-built facial recognition

San Francisco officials revise ban, forget government devices have in-built facial recognition

San Francisco can not be sued for breaking its own facial recognition ban, the Board of Supervisors voted this week, after city officials apparently forgot a tiny detail: Apple devices issued by the government for City employees to use at work include facial recognition technology, writes Bloomberg Law.

San Francisco is now making adjustments to its draconian facial recognition ban policy, but before the initiative is presented to the mayor, there is a final vote on December 17. The mayor then has 10 days to make a decision. If it becomes law, it goes into effect on January 16.

Employees, however, are not allowed to use facial recognition as the policy refers to city-issued devices, and the city has to committed to never using the technology. To fall under the protection of the new amendment, the city has to 30 days to respond to any notification about potential violations.

The city’s radical May decision to ban facial recognition in policing and city use seems to confirm the risk of creating loopholes in carrying out jurisdictional bans. Oakland also passed a similar restriction, Berkeley banned it from government use in October, as did Somerville, Massachusetts in July.

In 2020, California’s three-year ban on police using biometric facial recognition with body cameras will come into effect. The San Francisco ban is already in effect and bans all 53 city departments, including transit authorities, except San Francisco International Airport and the Port of San Francisco, from using surveillance technologies, including automated license plate readers.

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