Portland enforces most stringent facial recognition technology ban in US, prohibiting public, some private use


Members of Portland City Council voted unanimously Wednesday – public and in some cases, private – use of facial recognition technology, making it the nation’s most stringent ban of its kind, according to numerous reports.

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and City Commissioner Joe Ann Hardness introduced the ban, which immediately went into effect for city agencies, and would go into effect on Jan. 1 for private businesses, The Oregonian and Oregon Public Broadcasting reported.

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According to city agencies, the use of facial recognition technology is prohibited on city agencies and public property within the city, but according to the city agency Smart City PDX, its use is prohibited “by private residents by private houses” .

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, left; Municipal Commissioner Jo Ann Hardness, correct (Getty Images)

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According to Opel.com, facial recognition technology violates the public’s personal privacy and has “a demonstrated gender and racial bias”.

The Democratic mayor reportedly said, “Technology exists to make our lives easier, not for public and private entities to use as a weapon that they serve and adjust.”

He praised the news on Twitter, saying that Thursday was “a truly historic day for the city of Portland.”

“We own our privacy,” Hardik said before taking the council’s vote. “And it is our obligation to ensure that we are not allowing people to collect it secretly and sell it for profit or fear-based activity.”

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This type of technology collects and analyzes people’s biometric data, physical facial features that are “unique to an individual and can verify someone’s identity,” a Smart City PDX webpage dedicated to ordinances .

“Portland residents and visitors should enjoy access to public spaces with reasonable privacy,” the webpage states. “The use of face recognition in law enforcement can identify the wrong person. The source of these concerns is bias against Black and Brown people, women and older people. Collection of biometric information with no monitoring or security measures poses a risk to people. These risks and negative effects are the worst for those facing partiality. ”

The agency further states its concern about the lack of confidentiality certificates and inspections “which integrate all aspects of privacy.”

“It is very difficult to reduce and control any privacy breach of biometric data. Risk is increased by due diligence and lack of transparency. Apps that use biometric data should have privacy by design, ”the city agency wrote. “The city wants to make sure that children’s data – and all personal information – is protected.”

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A Portland Police Bureau spokesman did not immediately respond to a comment on Fox News’ request, but the department has previously said it does not use such technology, OPB.com reported.

According to The Oregonian, at least one private business in Portland, a food store with three locations in the city, has used the technology on customer attitudes and entry into stores.