Portland has instituted a sweeping ban on facial recognition, the broadest such ban in the US.
In the wake of privacy concerns, negative publicity, reports of bias and facial recognition being used in legally and ethically questionable ways by companies like Clearview AI, many cities have started rolling out bans. Portland’s ban is the most aggressive however, banning the technology’s use by both the government and businesses.
The ban does make a distinction between broad facial recognition used for mass surveillance and facial authentication technology. For example, many phones use facial recognition as a security measure. These type of systems are not covered by the ban, as they are not used for broad surveillance.
The wording of the ban seems to indicate that it is not intended as a permanent solution, but as a stop-gap measure until the technology matures and is better regulated.
”Existing methodologies assessing bias in Face Recognition Technologies show progress on their performance,” reads the ordinance. “However, there is still not a formal certification process available to cities that includes the full lifecycle of sensitive information collected from individuals.”
Similarly, Portland City Council Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty said:
“I want to ban this technology until it works as intended. That is my goal.”