The Oakland City Council has passed an ordinance which bans city agencies from using facial recognition technology. This makes Oakland the third city in the country to pass such legislation. The ordinance was passed unanimously by members of the city council which goes to show that they’re of the same mind regarding this.
The ordinance bans city agencies such as the police from obtaining or using facial recognition technology. Similar legislation has already been passed by San Francisco and Somerville, Massachusetts. A second vote will be taken on this ordinance in September by the Oakland City Council but it will merely be a procedural thing as no changes are likely in the city’s position on this.
There has been widespread concern about the use of facial recognition technology by the government, both local and federal. Privacy advocates say that it may lead to an era where constant public surveillance is the norm.
Despite city governments banning the use of facial recognition, this is yet to be done on a federal level. House lawmakers did hold a hearing about facial recognition last week but there was no agreement if any potential regulation were to be applied to this technology. It’s going to be easier said than done at the federal level.