Sharepoint Database Forms New York

Meanwhile, New York City’s own bill to regulate the use of this technology languishes in committee.

That legislation, the Public Oversight of Surveillance Technology Act, was first introduced in 2017. It was introduced again last year with the backing of 17 out of 51 council members. Unlike the ordinances in San Francisco and Oakland, the New York City bill requires only that the police disclose basic information about the technology that is being deployed. It does not condition the use of new surveillance technology on the approval of the City Council.

In 2017 Mayor Bill de Blasio criticized the disclosure requirement, saying it would provide a “road map for the bad guys.” But the sky has not fallen in Oakland, Berkeley or Davis. And now other cities are poised to ban facial recognition outright, while New Yorkers are not guaranteed even a measure of transparency into how they are being policed.

San Francisco’s ordinance is not perfect — although it binds local government entities, it does nothing to protect people from facial recognition deployed by private entities. It wouldn’t deal, for example, with cases like the landlord in New York City who wanted to install facial recognition systems in its rent-stabilized buildings. At least the police — who are charged with serving and protecting — have ostensibly legitimate reasons to use surveillance to further public safety.

Still, New York should know from its own history of using stop-and-frisk that dragnets become tools aimed at minority populations. Technology has only made the dragnet cheaper to deploy. Every new form of surveillance coming down the pipeline has the potential to become the next legal showdown. Caution and public scrutiny are merited — and all the more so in the case of facial recognition.

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