In the footsteps of San Francisco’s ban of the use of facial recognition technology, the cities of Somerville, Massachusetts, Oakland, California, and Berkeley, California are considering banning the use of facial recognition technology by municipal agencies. The proposed ban is in the midst of more and more cameras and smart technology being used for traffic lights, utilities, parking and sewage. Facial recognition technology is getting more and more sophisticated and precise, but some claim that it continues to be inaccurate. Privacy advocates claim that facial recognition technology has racial and gender biases. As a result of these issues, municipalities are discussing banning the use of the technology by municipal agencies.
These municipal bans on facial recognition technology could have an impact on private industry who are in the business of developing, implementing and selling smart technology for municipalities and public agencies to assist with traffic enforcement and convenience, public safety surveillance and other uses. Municipal laws are difficult to track and are rapidly changing, and those private companies in the industry would do well to keep abreast of these developments for their business.