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Facial Recognition restriction policies (items 703 & 704) - Portland

Mayor Wheeler and Commissioners Eudaly, Fritz and Hardesty:

Portland Copwatch has consistently raised concerns over many years about
the use of surveillance by law enforcement. The policies your are poised
to pass Wednesday are good steps toward limiting the use of facial
recognition technology. However, these policies are not outright bans as
they include multiple loopholes, despite the objections raised by
proponents of gathering such data who label them as "bans."
From Portland Copwatch < copwatch@portlandcopwatch.org> on 2020-09-07 16:01
To: Portland City Council Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty < joann@portlandoregon.gov>, Commissioner Amanda Fritz < amanda@portlandoregon.gov>, Commissioner Chloe Eudaly < chloe@portlandoregon.gov>, Mayor Ted Wheeler < mayorwheeler@portlandoregon.gov> Cc: Dominguez Aguirre, Hector < Hector.DominguezAguirre@portlandoregon.gov>, News Media < newsmedia@portlandcopwatch.org>, Portland Copwatch < copwatch@portlandcopwatch.org>


In January, we sent you our policy on facial recognition:

Portland Copwatch is opposed to the use of facial recognition
technology by law enforcement and private security trying to identify
people for law enforcement purposes. This includes fielding out images
to private companies-- even if that is simply using existing online
platforms like Facebook.

It is particularly of concern that law enforcement might use this
technology in crowd situations to identify people due to their
immigration status (ORS 181A.820), or their political, religious or
social affiliations (ORS 181A.250).

With regard to the two policies on today's agenda, we are 100% in
agreement that it is of concern that the technology has been shown to be
inaccurate and/or biased when it comes to identifying people of color
and women. But those concerns exist in a wider reality of the threat
created by private entities and the government tracking community
members regardless of whether there is criminal behavior involved. There
are fundamental issues of privacy in a so-called democratic society at
stake. In other words, even if the technology can be fixed to end its
racial and gender bias, it is still wise to limit or ban its use.

We earlier sent the Office of Equity and Human Rights feedback about the
proposed legislation and did not see any changes based on these
comments, so we present them here to you again:

-- For the public use ordinance, the question about social media
applications is deferred to a Human Resources policy. However, it is not
clear from the context whether that policy prohibits the use of facial
recognition on social media as a means for law enforcement to circumvent
the broader ordinance. We hope not, and suggest a clarification and/or
change to the HR policy. (Council Directs section [f])

--The public use ordinance also does not explicitly call for employees
who violate the code to be disciplined. It is implicit in sections [l]
and [m] (especially in that [m] says "each bureau director is
responsible for enforcing this policy") but we would like to see it be

---In section [l] it states that notice will be posted to a City website
of any violation and its remedy, but doesn't say whether the original
complainant will be directly informed of the outcome. That requirement
should be added.

--The public should be made aware that the City of Portland does not
have the ability to regulate state or other jurisdictions on this
matter, meaning for instance that the Oregon Dept of Transportation
could use the technology in their cameras, and Oregon State Police or
even the Multnomah Sheriffs could use the technology. Or, for that
matter, the federal police who flooded downtown streets in July.

--The public use draft implies in section [g] that a city agency
receiving information identifying a person needs to verify that it was
not ascertained through facial recognition. This should also be more

--The private use code should explicitly tell private actors that they
are not allowed to use the technology to identify people to any City
agency including the Portland Police.

Thank you
--dan handelman and other members of
portland copwatch

homepage: homepage: http://www.portlandcopwatch.org

age of AI / surveillance capitalism / the social dilemma / black box 23.Sep.2020 15:08

See Also


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Behavioral Microtargeting (for elections, and speech expression overall).
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