Portland City Council Pass Strongest Facial Recognition Bans In US Despise Amazon Lobbying

Posted by at 11:49 pm on September 9, 2020

Portland Oregon has set a new national standard in biometric #privacy and freedom from surveillance.
On Wednesday, September 9, the Portland, Oregon City Council passed two ordinances to ban the use of facial recognition by both public and private entities. This ban appears to be the strongest in the nation, it is is the first to prohibit corporations from using facial recognition in “places of public accommodation”. There were vigorous lobbying efforts from business and tech interests including Amazon, which spent over $24K to stop the ordinances
“This is a major victory for everyday citizens,” said Lia Holland (she/her), a Portland resident and activist with Fight for the Future. “Facial recognition is akin to nuclear weapons in terms of its benefit to the public—there is none, only a threat. Now, cities across the country must look to Portland and pass bans of their own. And, Congress should act to pass bans at the federal level. We have the momentum, and we have the will to beat back this dangerous and discriminatory technology.”

City Commissioner JoAnn Hardesty has a statement up saying,  (Facebook link)

“With these concerning reports of state surveillance of Black Lives Matter activists and the use of facial recognition technology to aid in the surveillance, it is especially important that Portland prohibits its bureaus from using this technology. #FacialRecognition tech, with its gender and racial bias and inaccuracies, is an intrusion on Portlanders’ privacy. No one should have something as private as their face photographed, stored, and sold to third parties for a profit. No one should be unfairly thrust into the criminal justice system because the tech algorithm misidentified an innocent person.” 

Both bans passed with a unanimous vote.

Both ordinances are available in full here: https://www.portlandmaps.com/bps/mapapp/

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