Facing potential abuse from government agencies and the police, the city of San Francisco has banned the use of facial recognition software by these groups. This is despite the city being the heart of technology revolution considering that Silicon Valley is found in San Francisco. Police in the United States are increasingly using the technology to find big time crooks as well as small time crooks. This makes San Francisco the first American city to ban the technology. This ban was made possible by a board of supervisors with the vote coming down to eight people favoring the ban against one who opposed the ban. In Annapolis the technology has been credited as a success as it helped identify a mass shooter last year. However, there have been some concerns from civil liberty groups who argue that there is potential for abuse. For instance, some think it might be the basis for surveillance by the government. The bill to ban the technology in San Francisco had be sponsored by Aaron Peskin who would not hide his joy after the win. He said that they had sent a strong message across the US. He said that being the technology headquarter of the world gave local legislators some responsibility in the technology that is been developed.
Critics on the other hand say that the city would have done more rather than ban the technology. They argue that the best solution was to find better regulations as facial recognition technology will become an integral part of the society. Jonathan Turley works at the University of Washington as a constitutional expert. He said that it was a shame that facial recognition would not have a role in securing border installations as well as airports. He says the ban is a scheme to deny people value from what they would have acquired from the technology. However, this is not the end of the issue as there will be another vote in the coming days to review the matter. However, many experts say that the second vote will just be a formality. There are other cities that are considering the ban such as Somerville and Oakland. Despite the ban in San Francisco, it’s being used in other areas in America such as big stadiums as well as airports. Taylor Swift is the first pop star to use the technology. According to the New York Times, she has reportedly said that she is using the technology to identify stalkers in her shows.