Portland isn’t the first city to ban the use of the technology. We have seen this done in the past, but it has mostly applied to government and public officials like law enforcement. However, with the ban in Portland, it not only covers government and public officials from using the technology, but it will also apply to private businesses that would otherwise deploy similar technology in public spaces.
This ban will come into effect in January 2021, and businesses who are caught using the technology can be liable to lawsuits and could pay fines of up to $1,000 a day. It might seem excessive, but it has been shown that facial recognition systems still have a lot of work to be done in order to make them more fair and less biased towards people of color.
We have come across stories of how facial recognition systems have led to wrongful arrests, which is why some cities in the US are banning its use. According to Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty, “We are a pro-technology city, but what we’ve seen so far in practice with this technology, it continues to exacerbate the overcriminalization of Black and Brown people in our community.”