San Francisco prohibits the use of facial recognition to identify criminals

The Mayor's Office of San Francisco (USA) banned on Tuesday the local agencies, including Police, the use of facial recognition techniques, increasingly used by the authorities to identify to criminals but criticized by civil rights organizations.

The Californian city thus became the first United States in taking a measure of these characteristics and now could be followed in the near future by Oakland, which is considering a similar ban, and the state of Massachusetts, where the state Senate is also studying the issue.



It's about being able to demand responsibility for surveillance technology, to ensure that it is used safely. "








"This is not an anti-technology policy. It's about being able to demand responsibility for surveillance technology, to ensure that it is used safely, "said the council's promoter of the measure, Aaron Peskin, who said that" you can have security without becoming in a police state. "

The measure was approved in the plenary session of the consistory with the public opposition of the local police force, which during the last days has pushed for a prohibition that in its opinion will hinder the day to day operations.

A man paints his face as a symbol of protest against facial recognition in October 2018

A man paints his face as a symbol of protest against facial recognition in October 2018
(Elaine Thompson / AP)

Governments and US security agencies For years they have used facial recognition techniques (able to identify individuals through artificial intelligence) for tasks such as identifying criminals, helping with the search of missing children and preventing documentary fraud.

However, civil rights groups claim that this technology invades the privacy of citizens in an excessive way, while perpetuating police biases against ethnic minorities as it has been proven that it tends more to error with people of skin. dark

In this regard, Peskin cited the study carried out last July by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which found that facial recognition had incorrectly identified 28 US congressmen. (mostly belonging to ethnic minorities) as criminals when comparing their photographs with police images.





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