Portland, Oregon officials have passed what could be the strictest municipal ban on facial recognition in the country. It’s not just local government units, such as the police, that can no longer use facial recognition under the city’s new regulations — private businesses can’t deploy the technology in public spaces either. That means places like hotels, stores and restaurants can’t use facial recognition where customers will be present. According to CNET, the bill passed unanimously, and it will be enforced starting in January 2021. Businesses caught violating the law could be sued and could pay up to $1,000 a day in fines.
In the document (PDF) detailing the ordinance, the city council noted that “Black, Indigenous and People of Color communities have been subject to over surveillance and disparate and detrimental impact of the misuse of surveillance.” It added that face recognition technologies “have been documented to have an unacceptable gender and racial bias” and explained that the city “needs to take precautionary actions until these technologies are certified and safe to use and civil liberties issues are resolved.”