San Francisco, the city that prides itself on being in the technological advancement of the world, approved on Tuesday the first legislation that prohibits the use of facial recognition technology. This tool uses artificial intelligence through cameras to recognize faces. In a vote passed by a majority (eight to one), in a plenary session of the City Council, the board of supervisors of the city decided that the right to privacy and the protection of minorities should prevail, especially if that tool is used by government agencies. order.
Several representatives of different civil rights organizations present in the room during the voting celebrated the decision of the board assuring that this type of technology can make the police wrong when making arrests.
"It is nonsense to use that program, which has already been seen to be very wrong in identifying people with darker skins," assured EL PAÍS Tim Kingston, an investigator with the Public Defender's Office of San Francisco, after the vote. . "We are extremely happy with the result of this vote. The face is something that nobody can change or remove, we do not want a state or a police city that can follow all our movements and maybe see if we participate in certain political acts and arrest ourselves for that. "
The board of city supervisors decided that the right to privacy and the protection of minorities should prevail, especially if the technology is used by law enforcement agencies
A study by the Georgetown Center for Privacy and Technology ensures that the facial recognition technology used by various departments has much more room for error with African-Americans. According to the same study, this technology is not regulated and is not required to be subject to any local or federal control, so each police department uses it at its own discretion.
The approved legislation was drafted by the supervisor Aaron Peskin, who argued that facial recognition would be a step towards greater state repression. During the debate, Peskin gave the example of China and the use of such technology to keep some Muslim minorities under control.
This type of tool also serves to improve security at events or public places such as concerts or airports, where large crowds occur. Critics of Peskin's legislation reply, instead of banning this technique completely, its negative and positive effects should be studied in detail beforehand. The Boston police, for example, managed to arrest the two terrorists who attacked in 2013 during the Boston marathon, in large part, thanks to facial recognition programs.
Peskin also warned of the influence that the tool can have on consumers. Thousands of establishments around the world use it to find out the emotions of customers about certain products or to identify potential thieves.
Other cities in California, such as Oakland, are preparing to vote on this measure. And the State of Massachusetts is analyzing a moratorium to review its effects on security and privacy.
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