Boston bans most city use of facial-recognition tech in privacy win

Boston bans most city use of facial-recognition tech in privacy win

Boston on Wednesday joined the still small, but growing, number of U.S. cities that have for the most part banned city officials’ use of facial-recognition technology.   

The ordinance, sponsored by Councilor Michelle Wu and Councilor Ricardo Arroyo, passed by a unanimous vote according to Councilor Wu. The new measure prohibits both the city of Boston and any official in the city of Boston from using “face surveillance” and “information derived from a face surveillance system.”

There are, importantly, a few key exceptions. One such exception, allowing city employees to still use technology like Face ID to unlock their personal smartphones, is uncontroversial. Another, allowing law enforcement to “[use] evidence relating to the investigation of a specific crime that may have been generated from a face surveillance system, so long as such evidence was not generated by or at the request of Boston or any Boston official” could perhaps cause controversy down the road. Read more…

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