Facial recognition: Why US cities are banning the use of this next-generation technology?

US cities like Portland, San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley has decided to put a ban on the use of facial recognition technology

One of the world's most powerful country, Russian said that they are using facial recognition to ensure that people who are under quarantine in their houses or hotels are adhering to steps not to further spread the new coronavirus. On the other hand, the city in Oregon, Portland is now considering a strict ban on this technology in US.

The technology uses a camera and software which helps to analyze human faces to identify or verify an individual's identity. Even though there are no federal rules regulating the facial recognition technology, as per the recent reports, Portland officials are considering the strictest ban of this technology in the country, prohibiting its use not only by government agencies but also private businesses.

Ban on facial recognition

It should be mentioned that while there is no regulation rule on what's done with data obtained through the use of this technology, these are forcing the Portland officials to follow the lead of other cities and institute their own rules. Oregon officials have already banned the police from using body cameras with facial recognition technology.

Along with Portland, San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley also have banned the use of this technology by police departments and other local government agencies. Portland has proposed similar prohibitions for public agencies and mentioned that the ban on private businesses' use of such technology may help to prevent companies to collect, use or store people's facial or biometric information.

Portland officials also concerned about the city residents' civil rights and privacy as they believe that the technology works against their rights and showed the flaw of facial recognition as it showcases racial and gender bias.

As reported by Oregon Live, Hector Dominguez, an open data coordinator in the city's Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, said, "We felt a moral obligation to develop a broader approach, recognizing that any use of a surveillance technology that is biassed against people of colour, lacks consent, lacks due process and can be used on minors is unacceptable."

However, it should be mentioned that the ban on facial recognition technology wouldn't apply to private use, such as the Face ID feature on iPhones.

Galaxy S8 Facial Recognition
Face recognition technology

The famous facial recognition app in US

A well-known company Clearview AI launched a facial recognition app which was used by US law enforcement to identify suspects and other people. But it sparked a huge outrage among US citizens as they came to know that this app, helps to identify people by comparing photos to a database of images scraped from online database and social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Venmo and YouTube.

The further finding has revealed that the Clearview AI app can extract private details of an individual and then sells the info to law enforcement agencies. Currently, a lawsuit was filed in Illinois against Clearview AI which has scraped social media networks for people's photos and created one of the biggest facial recognition databases in the world.