Privacy Advocates Celebrate as Massachusetts City Becomes Second in US to Ban Facial Recognition Technology
“The city is sending a bold statement that it won’t sit by idly while the dystopian technology further outpaces our civil liberties protections and harms privacy, racial and gender justice, and freedom of speech.”
A display shows a facial recognition system for law enforcement during the NVIDIA GPU Technology Conference in Washington, D.C. on Nov. 1, 2017. (Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)
Civil liberties advocates around the country celebrated after Somerville, Massachusetts on Thursday became the second city in the United States to bar local government—including law enforcement—from using facial recognition technology.
“Facial recognition can be used to track our every movement, supercharge racial profiling and discrimination, target political dissidents, and control nearly every aspect of our lives.”
—Evan Greer, Fight for the Future
By approving the ordinance, Somerville is “joining a growing nationwide movement to bring the technology under democratic control,” Kade Crockford, director of the ACLU of Massachusetts Technology for Liberty Program, said in a statement to the news website Wicked Local North of Boston.
“The city is sending a bold statement that it won’t sit by idly while the dystopian technology further outpaces our civil liberties protections and harms privacy, racial and gender justice, and freedom of speech,” Crockford added.
BREAKING: Somerville just became the first East Coast city to ban government use of face recognition technology.
The Massachusetts city joins a growing nationwide movement to bring the technology under democratic control before it further harms our civil liberties and privacy. https://twitter.com/onekade/status/1144413996486987786 …Replying to @onekade
Wicked Local reported that the ACLU of Massachusetts—which launched a “Press Pause on Face Surveillance” campaign earlier this month to highlight mounting concerns about how the technology can be used and abused—worked on the ordinance with Ben Ewen-Campen, the Somerville City Council member who introduced it.
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