Cops Are Trying to Stop San Francisco From Banning Face Recognition Surveillance

San Francisco is inching closer to becoming the first American city to ban facial recognition surveillance, a booming technology that’s a fast-growing business in the United States and extends to the core of China’s high-tech authoritarianism.

A proposal to ban facial recognition from the city as well as provide significant transparency and oversight requirements to buying or using other forms of surveillance was heard by a committee in the San Francisco’s board of supervisors on Monday. The hearing included numerous supporters and critics but also one notable absence: police.

While civil liberties groups including the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation are pushing the Stop Secret Surveillance Ordinance, the San Francisco Police Officers Association (SFPOA) has been opposing the bill and pushing its own supporters to send emails to lawmakers demanding the bill be defeated. SFPOA did not respond to a request for comment.