Portland on Wednesday voted in favor of the first-ever ban in the United States on private entities, such as restaurants and retail stores, from using facial recognition technology in public places in the city.
Portland’s city council also voted to ban local government bureaus from acquiring or using the controversial surveillance technology. City council commissioners voted unanimously for the ban, CNN Business reports.
The ban begins immediately in the Portland city government and on January 1 for private uses not allowed under the rule.
Portland city council commissioners voted unanimously to ban the use of facial recognition technology (stock)
Several U.S. cities, including San Francisco and Oakland, have previously banned government use of facial recognition.
Facial recognition software can identify individuals in photos and videos based on a database of known subjects.
The technology has won over businesses and police in the last few years despite objections from those who say it invades people’s privacy and exacerbates racial and gender biases.
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler expressed concern that the technology would be used to monitor protests, which the city has seen since the death of George Floyd in May.
‘Technology exists to make our lives easier, not for public and private entities to use as a weapon against the very citizens they serve and accommodate,’ he said.
The American Civil Liberties Union said it hoped the passage of the legislation in Portland would spur efforts to ban the use of such surveillance technology across the state of Oregon.
They added that the prohibiting of the technology ‘is necessary and prudent to protect the interests, privacy, and safety of individuals and our communities.’
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler expressed concern that the technology would be used to monitor protests. BLM protesters are seen clashing with Proud Boys supporters in Oregon City over the weekend
Protests have been raging in Portland since the death of George Floyd in police custody in May