San Francisco’s Ban on Facial Recognition is a Victory for Personal Privacy Advocates


San Francisco has set the record as the first US state to ban the use of facial recognition technology. Per a report on Engadget, May 14, 2019, the state made the decision in order to protect residents from the government’s constant surveillance. With the pressure on regulators and government agencies on the cryptocurrency sector to remove its privacy feature, this might be a welcome development for the emerging market.

The Golden City Scraps Intrusive Mass Surveillance Program

On May 14, 2019, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors voted in favor of a bill that prohibited government agencies including the police from using facial recognition technology. Supervisor Aaron Peskin first introduced The Stop Secret Surveillance Ordinance Bill, which other supervisors voted eight – one.

Although law enforcement agencies have used facial recognition technology to identify suspects, critics stated that the government was beginning to abuse its use. Aaron Peskin said that the ban would racial injustice and ensure that citizens can move around freely without the government monitoring their every step.

Furthermore, the supervisor opined:

“This is really about saying: ‘We can have security without being a security state. We can have good policing without being a police state.’ And part of that is building trust with the community based on good community information, not on Big Brother technology.”

Following the move by San Francisco, other states are also considering carrying out similar actions. Capitol Hill introduced a bill back in April that would prohibit users who use face recognition for commercial purposes from assembling and sharing data of consumers without their consent.

Also, Massachusetts would introduce a bill that would place a moratorium on face recognition and other biometric surveillance systems.

This recent development, however, does not sit well companies who sell facial recognition technology. Some other critics criticize San Francisco’s action, saying that it is impossible to have privacy in a public place.

Small Victory for Privacy Enthusiasts

Cryptocurrency and blockchain’s core emphasis on privacy has been a major threat to mainstream institutions and government bodies. Due to this particular feature, regulators, government bodies, and critics alike see the virtual currency sector as a viable tool for terrorists’ attack and money laundering.

The decision coming out of San Francisco, however, serves as a small victory for the privacy-centered digital currency companies willing to operate in the state.

In January 2019, Google Play asked Samourai Wallet to remove the following features – Stealth Mode, SIM Switch defense, and remote SMS Commands from their private bitcoin wallet before the company could perform an upgrade on the platform. To protect users, Samourai Wallet made the previous version available through a direct APK download on GitHub.

As reported by BTCManager in March 2019, the Chinese government was seeking to use blockchain technology to keep permanent records of its citizens. Also, the government national cryptocurrency, when adopted, would completely control the life of every Chinese citizen.

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