The Technology and Innovation Commission in Long Beach, California, has formalized its request for a police facial recognition ban. The Commission has been looking into the Long Beach Police Department’s (LBPD) use of facial recognition since early 2021, after the city asked for an impact assessment as part of a Reconciliation Framework that was passed in response to the police murder of George Floyd.
The results of that investigation were published in draft form in January of this year. The Commission would then sign off on that early version in March, with an initial request for a facial recognition ban. The white paper has now been finalized, and the Commission has voted to send the finished document to city officials for further action. On that front, the Commission is once again calling for a complete ban on the police use of facial recognition, at least until law enforcement can prove that the technology can be used in a non-discriminatory manner, and in a way that respects the civil rights of the Long Beach public.
The white paper will be sent to the Long Beach city manager, who will be responsible for passing it on to the mayor and the rest of city council. It will be paired with a letter from the Long Beach Equity and Human Relations Commission, which echoed the Technology and Innovation and made its own request for a facial recognition ban just over a month ago.
The Commission’s final paper comes with three concrete policy recommendations. Most notably, the Commission wants the city to create a separate independent commission that would be responsible for overseeing any automated decision-making systems, including face-based surveillance systems. The Commission also wants the city to set up a consistent framework that could be used to evaluate and monitor potentially invasive tech. The final policy recommendation is the formal facial recognition ban.
The report notes that facial recognition has had a disproportionate impact on communities of color. The LBPD has claimed that it does not use facial recognition for mass surveillance, but the department does have access to the Los Angeles County Regional Identification System (LACRIS), which contains 9 million mugshots that can be referenced during investigations.
Source: Long Beach Post
July 8, 2022 – by Eric Weiss