In Oregon last week, the Portland City Council passed what many news outlets are reporting as one of the strictest facial recognition bans in the United States. The legislation bans city government agencies and private businesses from using facial recognition technology on the city’s grounds.
Though other cities have banned public use of facial recognition, Portland is reportedly the first to bar private use of the technology.
The bill was passed unanimously by the city’s legislative body and is made up of two ordinances. The ban of public use of facial recognition technology, which came into effect immediately after the bill was passed' and the second ordinance addressing private use. The public use ordinance gives the city bureaus 90 days to complete an assessment on their use of facial recognition. The second ordinance blocks use of facial recognition technology by “private entities in places of public accommodation” and will be effective starting January, 2021.
Specifically, places like hotels, restaurants, movie theaters, educational institutions, barbershops and others will be prohibited from using facial recognition technology. Venues violating the ban could be condemned to pay a fine of $1,000 for each day of violation.
The ordinances also plot out some exceptions where facial recognition can be used, such as unlocking smartphones, automated face detection used for tagging someone by social media apps, and for city bureaus and agencies to obscure and redact faces to protect privacy when images are released outside the city.