The Somerville, Mass. City Council has voted to ban the use of facial recognition technology in public spaces.
The anti-facial recognition ordinance would bar any city department or agency from using facial surveillance over concerns that the practice invades residents’ privacy and tends to be less accurate identifying people of color, especially women and young people.
"The broad application of face surveillance in public spaces is the functional equivalent of requiring every person to carry and display a personal photo identification card at all times," reads the ordinance.
The ordinance also points to how facial recognition technologies can misidentify people, particularly women and non-whites. The ordinance adds that "many of the databases to which face surveillance technology is applied are plagued by racial and other biases, which generate copycat biases in face surveillance data."