According to Councilor Ricardo Arroyo who sponsored the bill alongside Councilor Michelle Wu, “It has an obvious racial bias and that’s dangerous. But it also has sort of a chilling effect on civil liberties. And so, in a time where we’re seeing so much direct action in the form of marches and protests for rights, any kind of surveillance technology that could be used to essentially chill free speech or … more or less monitor activism or activists is dangerous.”
It has been noted that based on an MIT study, facial recognition isn’t exactly known to be particularly accurate, especially when it comes to identifying people with darker skin. For example, the study found that for darker skinned women, the error rate of the technology went up to 35%. There was also a recent report on how a man was arrested after being wrongly identified by facial recognition software.
Boston Police Commissioner William Gross is also behind the ban of the technology, claiming that until it is 100% accurate, he has no interest in implementing its use. Boston is not alone in banning the technology as back in 2019, San Francisco also announced that they would be banning the use of facial recognition in public spaces.