Portland, Oregon passes a new ordinance that protect its citizens from unlawful identification and branding of the Facial Recognition System. Some called it the ‘most aggressive prohibition’ of the technology. The town council has achieved a feat that protects its citizens from the system’s third-party and private stakeholders.
The Council deliberated the city’s ordinance. The hearing resulted in the successful passage of the rule prohibiting any Facial Recognition Technologies at any city offices.
Portland prohibits local agencies, law enforcement, and even private stakeholders like restaurants, hotels, and shops to use such technology.
With the Office of Equity and Human Rights, Portland’s BPS is now working to raise awareness and enforce actions toward the new policy banning the software. Portland’s city council believes the technology is harmful, unlawful and could even lead to bias against marginalized sectors.
With such features and technologies, the city saw prejudice towards persons of color, minorities, and the elderly. This hostility contributed to the town’s decision to ban anything related to the process of abolishing it. Portland claims this infrastructure prevents its residents from making fair use of and using the region’s facilities.
The city ordinance protects the residents from law enforcement if harm to innocent persons with permanent consequences is made. False facial recognition detection is likely, which can cause future damage.
Gender and Skin Color Bias on Facial Recognition
A study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found skin tone and ethnicity to be enormous variables that cause facial recognition systems to record false positives and display mistakes.
Light-skinned men have only a marginal error rate of 0.8 percent. Error rate means the risk of being wrongly detected or labeled as a suspect by a given group. Facial recognition features misidentify dark-skinned women at a 34.7 percent error rate.
In a different study attempting to validate the technology, the US Federal Government has found this pattern and error rate, transcending facial recognition systems. The study showed that demographics provide an important factor in facial recognition systems that somehow cause inaccurate discrimination.
Ted Wheeler, Mayor of Portland, voiced these fears, along with the fear that facial recognition technologies could be used to track protestors. Protests persisted in the town in late May since George Floyd’s death.
“Technology exists to make our lives easier, not for public and private entities to use as a weapon against the very citizens they serve and accommodate,” he said.
Portland is the fourth to ban facial recognition system
The City of Portland is the fourth to lift this issue and to prohibit the device of facial recognition considered unconstitutional and biased. Portland holds the same feelings with Oakland, San Fransisco, and most recently with Boston, who initially set out their bans.
These cities around the country all testify to the same facial recognition technology taking in the same problem: bias. The first three to pass this prevented their government from using the technologies to protect their people from oppression based on race and crime.
Portland have the most comprehensive of all for restricting access, including private sectors. The law prohibits third-party players from using facial recognition services.