San Francisco officials on Tuesday voted 8 to 1 to ban the purchase and use of facial recognition technology by city personnel, in a move to regulate tools that local Silicon Valley companies helped develop.
The action puts San Francisco at the forefront of increasing discontent in the United States over facial recognition, which government agencies have used for years and now has become more powerful with the rise of cloud computing and artificial intelligence technologies.
Amazon.com Inc has come under scrutiny since last year for selling an image analysis and ID service to law enforcement. Researchers have said this service struggles to identify the gender of individuals with darker skin, prompting fears of unjust arrests. Amazon has defended its work and said all users must follow the law.
While communities at the heart of the technology industry are moving to limit facial recognition, police elsewhere have increased their use, primarily to spot potential suspects in known offender databases after a crime has occurred.