San Francisco becomes the first US city to ban facial recognition by government agencies

TeamGhobad

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In a first for a city in the United States, San Francisco has voted to ban its government agencies from using facial recognition technology.

“This is not an anti-technology policy,” he said, stressing that many tools used by law enforcement are still important to the city’s security. Still, he added, facial recognition is “uniquely dangerous and oppressive.”

The ban comes amid a broader debate over facial recognition, which can be used to rapidly identify people and has triggered new questions about civil liberties. Experts have raised specific concerns about the tools, as studies have demonstrated instances of troubling bias and error rates.


I guess the tool was too effective..
 

Zaru

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Oct 2, 2012
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Good. You don't want to go the path of China on that topic.
Though if those in power wanted to do it they'd just repeal the ban down the line, wouldn't they?
 
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merlinevo

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Apr 28, 2019
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Let's be honest, this is simply a political move to avoid addressing the obvious problem, the majority of the people who will be flagged are blacks and hispanics. Science and data does not care about political correctness, and the data show that you can predict and prevent many crimes simply by keeping track of high risk groups, that is young black and brown males.

I don't understand why society continue to tolerant and ignore crime for the sake of avoiding the obvious problem. 15 percent of the population commit the majority of the crimes, and a majority of that 15 percent are young black and brown males. Americans intuitively understand this, from avoiding dangerous areas in the city or not going out at night in these places, yet we pretend this problem is isolated or stereotypical. The data is there, there is no point in denying it.
 

Sub_Level

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Apr 9, 2009
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Really disagree with this. The government should be able to identify you by any means using modern tech.

Tired of seeing every security measure compared to China, 1984, e.t.c. How about dont do anything wrong and it wont be a problem.
 

RedVIper

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Private agencies can still use it, so all the government has to do is tell the private agencies to pass the information along.
 

Hissing Sid

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On the plus side at least they can sell all that lovely spy-on-a-citizen gear to the UK who’ll no doubt snap it up sharpish.
 

Aurelian

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Really disagree with this. The government should be able to identify you by any means using modern tech.

Tired of seeing every security measure compared to China, 1984, e.t.c. How about dont do anything wrong and it wont be a problem.
You're literally using the Orwellian "if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear" argument.

The problem is that technologies like this can become oppressive at the drop of a hat. Yeah, police will say they want this just to spot known suspects in a crowd, but they could also use this to identify and intimidate protesters. American police have already used video footage and social networking to try to bully activists into silence, and that'd only get worse with facial recognition.

There's also the simple matter of the technology having problems. It's not just that it can be biased toward certain demographics (it tends to be more accurate with lighter-skinned people), it's that the accuracy isn't nearly where it needs to be for the tech to be trustworthy. False positives with facial recognition wouldn't just be a "whoops, my bad" slip-up -- they could have devastating implications if they lead to arrests or surveillance of innocent people.
 
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oagboghi2

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You're literally using the Orwellian "if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear" argument.

The problem is that technologies like this can become oppressive at the drop of a hat. Yeah, police will say they want this just to spot known suspects in a crowd, but they could also use this to identify and intimidate protesters. American police have already used video footage and social networking to try to bully activists into silence, and that'd only get worse with facial recognition.

There's also the simple matter of the technology having problems. It's not just that it can be biased toward certain demographics (it tends to be more accurate with lighter-skinned people), it's that the accuracy isn't nearly where it needs to be for the tech to be trustworthy. False positives with facial recognition wouldn't just be a "whoops, my bad" slip-up -- they could have devastating implications if they lead to arrests or surveillance of innocent people.
Bullshit, this has nothing to do with accuracy or "targeting activists". This is about racial politics in the city.

This is the same bullshit excuse we saw when the city decided they wouldn't make public the security tapes of crimes that happened on BART
 

Aurelian

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Bullshit, this has nothing to do with accuracy or "targeting activists". This is about racial politics in the city.

This is the same bullshit excuse we saw when the city decided they wouldn't make public the security tapes of crimes that happened on BART
Or, it could be about protecting civil liberties and fighting discrimination, like the bill sponsors said.

It's kind of funny, the same people who whine that social networks violate free speech by "deplatforming" (they're not) are the same ones cheerleading the thought of far-reaching government surveillance and the erosion of privacy.
 

cryptoadam

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far reaching government surveillance and erosion of privacy? Like defrauding the FISA court to spy against an American citizen against their constitutional rights? Like setting up a Russian hoax and weaponizing the most powerful law enforcment and intelligence agencies in the world to disrupt a opposition campaign, and then to try to reverse the results of a legitimate election.
 
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KINGMOKU

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Really disagree with this. The government should be able to identify you by any means using modern tech.

Tired of seeing every security measure compared to China, 1984, e.t.c. How about dont do anything wrong and it wont be a problem.
Sarcasm is awesome.
 

Aurelian

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Feb 22, 2009
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far reaching government surveillance and erosion of privacy? Like defrauding the FISA court to spy against an American citizen against their constitutional rights? Like setting up a Russian hoax and weaponizing the most powerful law enforcment and intelligence agencies in the world to disrupt a opposition campaign, and then to try to reverse the results of a legitimate election.
Someone's overly sensitive about any challenges to Divine Leader Trump, I see. This is about facial recognition; can we actually focus on that topic instead of indulging in your neuroses?
 

daveonezero

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Nov 19, 2018
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How about big tech corps? they are the one giving the technology to governments. They are the ones giving them information. If they are still using it governments are still getting the information.

In post Snowden leaks world there should be more caution with not only government but also the corporations in which governments operate.
 
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ChuckeRearmed

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I see no good solution - it is essentially highly more effective composite sketches. People were ok with cameras, so eventually, they will agree to facial recognition. It is more about blacks and other poc.
 

chaos789

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"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

-Benjamin Franklin
 

autoduelist

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How about dont do anything wrong and it wont be a problem.
While I object to hpthis idea on nearly every grounds possible, I will simply point out that a perfectly acceptable joke today may be declared hate speech in ten years. Sargon is now being investigated by LE for a joke told 3 years ago.

More importantly, we have the right to assemble. There are myriad of criss crossing issues with this as it relates to privacy needs. It's not a simple topic, but the idea that we simply shouldn't do anything wrong is an impossible lie when there are so many laws that we can all easily break one every day without realizing it.
 

Sub_Level

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"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

-Benjamin Franklin
The sentiment is nice, but Benjamin Franklin was a fallible human who lived centuries ago with nothing resembling modern day technology. No need to lionize him and the other Founding Fathers™.

This sort of tech is also useful because it can establish alibis for people wrongly accused. Combined with police cameras, phone gps tracking, and the like, the world is getting safer and the data continually shows as much.
 

oagboghi2

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Or, it could be about protecting civil liberties and fighting discrimination, like the bill sponsors said.

It's kind of funny, the same people who whine that social networks violate free speech by "deplatforming" (they're not) are the same ones cheerleading the thought of far-reaching government surveillance and the erosion of privacy.
Can you cut the bullshit already? "Protect Civil liberty"? To commit crimes on Bart? To defecate on the street?

The SF board of superintendents is silent when it comes to the abuses of tech companies when it hits people they don't like, they are silent when millions of dollars dissapear in the name of solving homelessness, or drug abuse, or whatever is the issue of the month, but here they take a stand. Another policy that again doesn't benefit law abiding citizens, but criminals and deviants. Fantastic
 

Sqorin Hammerfarf

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If you ban facial recognition, they’ll still use it. They just won’t tell you. I’d like them to ban the cameras. Panopticon can suck it.
 

chaos789

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The sentiment is nice, but Benjamin Franklin was a fallible human who lived centuries ago with nothing resembling modern day technology. No need to lionize him and the other Founding Fathers™.

This sort of tech is also useful because it can establish alibis for people wrongly accused. Combined with police cameras, phone gps tracking, and the like, the world is getting safer and the data continually shows as much.
No, I have to disagree. Going down this road is a slippery slope, that can have grave consequences for privacy and freedom of assembly.

I am not in support of any entity whether in the domain of public or private being able to track or monitor my movements.

The idea that a government or corporate entity would be able to do so, especially without public oversight, should alarm anyone who values liberty or freedom of assembly.
 

ChuckeRearmed

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No, I have to disagree. Going down this road is a slippery slope, that can have grave consequences for privacy and freedom of assembly.

I am not in support of any entity whether in the domain of public or private being able to track or monitor my movements.

The idea that a government or corporate entity would be able to do so, especially without public oversight, should alarm anyone who values liberty or freedom of assembly.
The thing is that ... it is inevitable. It is a coin. And the coin has two sides.
 

Boss Mog

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I'm not surprised that a city that's a safe haven for illegals and criminals wouldn't want facial recognition used. Personally I'm a huge fan of video surveillance. You shouldn't have any expectation of privacy in the street and it's really great for identifying criminal scum so we can remove them from society and put them where they belong.
 
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Teletraan1

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I can see why some people think this is some slippery slope but if that is that case you have been on that slope for years. Cameras in public are already here. Getting a still image of someone in public and running it through a database or tracking suspects movement manually has been a LE tool for a while. This is just the faster version of that and would aid in the swift apprehension of criminals. What is next, no fingerprinting, get rid of licence plates or identification? It just needs to be properly regulated, only to be used on criminal suspects, not be the only admissible evidence due to accuracy concerns with harsh penalties for abuse.