City of San Francisco sets limits to face recognition

In an unprece­dent­ed move the city of Fran­cis­co, has decid­ed that new face recog­ni­tion projects by the city itself has to be run through their board of super­vi­sors. See the draft law here:

That means, it does­n’t com­pletet­ly ban face recog­ni­tion as some media sug­gest­ed, but devel­ops a pol­i­cy that will put the acqui­si­tion of face recog­ni­tion tech­nique through the city admin­is­tra­tion under con­trol.

While sur­veil­lance tech­nol­o­gy may threat­en the pri­va­cy of all of us, sur­veil­lance efforts have his­tor­i­cal­ly been used to intim­i­date and oppress cer­tain com­mu­ni­ties and groups more than oth­ers, includ­ing those that are defined by a com­mon race, eth­nic­i­ty, reli­gion, nation­al ori­gin, income lev­el, sex­u­al ori­en­ta­tion, or polit­i­cal per­spec­tive.

FILE NO. 190110, Board of super­vi­sors, City of San Fran­cis­co, p.1

Obvi­ous­ly the city has not banned face recog­ni­tion tech­nol­o­gy in gen­er­al, since this would include every smart phone today. Also there is a long list of exemp­tions:

Sur­veil­lance Tech­nol­o­gy does not include the fol­low­ing devices, hard­ware, or soft­ware: [long list of basic elec­tron­ic infra­struc­ture, incl. data­bas­es need­ed to run a city].

FILE NO. 190110, Board of super­vi­sors, City of San Fran­cis­co, p.6