In a groundbreaking move, Portland’s City Council has banned the use of facial recognition technology by both government and private entities, making it presumably the toughest ban on the technology anywhere in the world. Other cities in the US such as Boston, San Francisco, Oakland, Cambridge, Berkley, and Somerville, have also banned the use of technology, but only by the public authorities. The ban has been issued by means of two separate ordinances — one prohibiting the use of the tech by the city’s government, and the other barring private entities such as restaurants, and supermarkets, from using the technology. The former ban is now in effect, while the latter will come into force on January 1, 2021. Amazon had lobbied against banning private entities using facial recognition in Portland and had spent a total of $24,000 towards this effort, as per OneZero. “Face Recognition Technologies have been shown to falsely identify women and People of Color on a routine basis. While progress continues to be made in improving Face Recognition Technologies, wide ranges in accuracy and error rates that differ by race and gender have been found in vendor testing (sic),” the ordinance banning the private use of the technology said. Evan Greer, deputy director of rights group Fight for the Future tweeted that corporate use of facial recognition can be “just as dangerous and discriminatory as government and law enforcement use. This technology, like nuclear or biological weapons, poses such a profound threat to humanity that it can’t be regulated. It must…
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