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San Francisco bans face recognition use by local agencies


San Francisco, May 15 (IANS): Deeming the technology unreliable and potentially in breach of peoples privacy and liberty, San Francisco has become the first US-city to ban the use of facial recognition by local agencies, such as the citys transport authority or law enforcement.

The use of the emerging technology would not be allowed by local agencies, such as the city's transport authority, or law enforcement. In addition, all plans to buy any kind of new surveillance technology will also have to be first approved by city administrators in San Francisco, BBC reported on Tuesday.

The vote was passed by San Francisco's supervisors 8-1, with two absentees.

People in favour of the decision have backed their choice with reasons that term the technology prone to error, particularly when dealing with women or people with darker skin tones.

People as well as authorities have often called the facial recognition technology irresponsible, undependable and inaccurate.

Earlier in April, a New York City-based student sued Apple for $1 billion, accusing the iPhone-maker of using its facial recognition technology and arresting the wrong person on charges of theft from an Apple Store.

The measure is expected to be officially passed as the city law after a second vote next week.

The new rules, however, would not apply to security measures at San Francisco's airport or sea port, as they are run by federal, not local, agencies.

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