In a debate taking place this week, Portland, Maine, City Council is considering joining the growing list of U.S. cities that have banned the use of facial recognition technology.
The only place in Portland currently known to be using the technology is the Portland Jetport, where it is used by the airlines JetBlue and Delta, and on international passengers passing through the Jetport.
However, if the current debate were to result in a ban on facial recognition technology it wouldn’t apply to the Jetport, as it operates under federal guidelines and regulations.
Some Portland City Councillors are determined to prevent facial recognition from spreading to other City departments like law enforcement, where its use is being debated and challenged in other cities across the U.S.
“This technology is a huge invasion of privacy,” Portland City Councilor Pious Ali said. “We don’t need any additional intrusion into our private lives.”
Councillor Ali also warned that facial recognition is prone to disproportionately misidentifying women and people of color, a point that the ACLU technology experts also stress.
“Some of these systems misclassified black women’s faces up to 35 percent of the time,” ACLU of Massachusetts Technology for Liberty Program Director Kade Crockford said. “That’s getting it wrong 1 in 3 times.”
Crockford pointed out that though passengers can choose to opt out of facial recognition programs from airlines through their individual websites, this wouldn’t be an option to citizens of Portland if the technology were allowed to spread throughout the City.
November 21, 2019 – by Tony Bitzionis