Jackson, Mississippi, has become the latest municipality to ban the police use of facial recognition technology. The Jackson Police Department does not currently use facial recognition, but will now no longer have that option thanks to the latest resolution.
The ban was passed with a 4-2 vote by the Jackson city council. The motion was put forward by Councilman De’Keither Stamps, who cited concerns about privacy, racial bias, and the potential for police abuse of a surveillance system.
“Our issue was facial recognition, which is able to track people and record and document them continually,” said Stamps. “We want the government solving crimes, but do we want government tracking us, our whereabouts, where we go, how far we go, all day long and documenting it and keeping it on recording for our foreseeable future?”
The resolution noted that several other jurisdictions have already passed facial recognition bans in the past few years. San Francisco was the first, but Oakland, Cambridge, and other cities have since implemented similar restrictions.
The Jackson bill also called particular attention to issues of racial bias, pointing out that many systems are less accurate when identifying people of color. That can lead to discrimination, false arrests, and other forms of systemic bias when used against vulnerable communities. Those concerns have only become more pronounced since the police killing of George Floyd, which highlighted discriminatory practices amongst law enforcement and prompted many people to question whether or not the police can be trusted with such powerful technology.
“Police officers across the United States routinely abuse confidential databases to spy on exes, business partners, neighbors, and journalists,” reads the resolution. “Law enforcement officers frequently search facial recognition databases without warrants and even reasonable suspicion, thus violating the fourth amendment and basic human rights.”
Source: Jackson Free Press
August 21, 2020 – by Eric Weiss