Somerville, Massachusetts Stands Up to Stop Face Surveillance .

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JULY 3, 2019 .

The city council of Somerville, Massachusetts voted unanimously last week to become the first city on the East Coast to ban government face surveillance. It is encouraging to see cities across the country take this proactive step in anticipating the surveillance problems on the horizon and head them off in advance. This is far easier than trying to put the proverbial genie back in the bottle after it causes harm.

“In Somerville we take fairness, justice, and individual liberties seriously,” Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone tweeted after signing the ordinance, which was introduced by Somerville City Councilor Ben Ewen-Campen. “Facial recognition software automates civil rights abuses and extends (and somewhat corporatizes) a pervasive surveillance state.”

Face recognition technology can be used for identifying or verifying the identity of an individual using photos or video. Government can even conduct dragnet, real-time face surveillance of entire neighborhoods. Face recognition technology is also prone to error, implicating people for crimes they haven’t committed.

In addition to banning government face surveillance in its own city, the Somerville city council has also endorsed a pair of bills that would place a moratorium on face surveillance across Massachusetts .  .

Spreading The Truth .

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