San Francisco bans facial recognition technology

The Board of Supervisors in the city of San Francisco adopted an anti-surveillance ordinance which, among other provisions, bans the use of facial-recognition technology by the police and other city departments. Due to enter into force in a month, the ordinance includes an exception for the San Francisco International Airport and the Port of San Francisco, both under federal control. It also does not contain provisions preventing the use of facial recognition technology by businesses or residents of the city. The measure was welcomed by civil rights groups: the American Civil Liberties Union commended city authorities for ‘declar[ing] that face surveillance technology is incompatible with a healthy democracy and that residents deserve a voice in decisions about high-tech surveillance’. The ordinance also provides that any city department that wants to use surveillance technology needs to get approval from the Board of Supervisors.​