Time to face up to AI

Time to face up to AI

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The city of San Francisco is set to vote for a ban on the use of facial recognition technology by its agencies. The Stop Secret Surveillance Ordinance would prevent the police from using facial recognition in law enforcement.

"Good policing does not mean living in a police state," says city supervisor Aaron Peskinsaid. "Living in safe and secure communities does not mean living in a surveillance state."

"The propensity for facial recognition technology to endanger civil rights and civil liberties substantially outweighs its purported benefits," says the draft ordinance. "And the technology will exacerbate racial injustice and threaten our ability to live free of continuous government monitoring."

The move follows complaints from civil liberty campaigners across markets that monitoring innocent people in public is a breach of fundamental rights to privacy and freedom of speech and assembly.

Police in China have made more than 10,000 arrests using facial recognition technology in the past four years, with the company behind the AI-based tech, Cloudwalk, making 1bn face comparisons every day against its database.

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