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San Francisco police are reportedly fighting effort to ban facial recognition

The City Councilman who proposed the ban says he is getting inundated with emails from law enforcement

Photo (c) imaginima - Getty Images
The city that is home to some of Silicon Valley's top engineers says that their facial recognition technology is not welcome there.

San Francisco lawmakers are considering banning all facial recognition technology in city limits, which would be a historic move in the United States. The proposal comes at a time when Amazon, Google, and other tech giants are developing and peddling the nascent technology to law enforcement agencies.

San Francisco Supervisor Aaron Peskin, the lawmaker who introduced the proposed ban, told Gizmodo that his office has been blasted with identical emails from the Police Officers Association. The form email says that the ban is not appropriate because it “could have unintended consequences that make us less safe by severely curtailing the use of effective traditional video surveillance by burying agencies like the Police Department in a bureaucratic approval process.”

Lawmakers say the proposal will have no impact on traditional video surveillance. The ban is targeted specifically against services like Amazon’s Rekognition, a technology that groups like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Electronic Frontier Foundation warn is prone to error and a slippery path to authoritarianism.

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