Baltimore Council Says No to Facial Recognition

Baltimore Council Says No to Facial Recognition

The Baltimore City Council voted overwhelmingly earlier this week to pass one of the strictest facial recognition bans in the United States. It would not only prohibits law enforcement and municipal agencies from procuring and using the technology but also bars private citizens in the city from leveraging it. Only two city councilmembers voted against the ordinance, which now goes to Mayor Brandon Scott for final approval.

The measure does carve out an exemption for the use of biometrics in access control systems and will expire at the end of 2022 provided the council does not vote to extend it after undertaking a study on the matter.

While several cities across the country have passed laws prohibiting police and other government agencies from procuring or using facial recognition systems in recent years, only Portland, Ore., has sought to ban private use of the technology by businesses. However, Baltimore’s ordinance would be the first to criminalize consumer use of such systems.

“Despite today’s inexplicable outcome to impose a complete ban on the use of facial recognition in Baltimore, there is still an opportunity to find reasonable compromise and fulfill Mayor Scott’s clear vision for improving citywide processes through the use of technology,” Security Industry Association CEO Don Erickson said in a statement. “SIA respectfully urges the mayor to reject the proposal passed by the council and instead appoint a balanced commission of citizen and privacy advocates, law enforcement personnel and private sector representatives to recommend guidelines within the next 180 days governing the use of facial recognition by business and government agencies.

“Lowering the temperature of the debate over facial recognition through more careful study and input during this period of time may produce a better outcome that can be supported by all stakeholders,” Erickson said, in his statement.

Prior to the ordinance’s passage, SIA, along with the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), and XR Association, sent a letter to the Baltimore City Council Public Safety and Government Operations Committee urging it to reject the measure and noted a number of different commercial and consumer applications that would be impacted by its passage, such as increased and customized accessibility for disabled persons, devices that assist people suffering from blindness, memory loss or prosopagnosia (face blindness) with recognizing friends and others.

The letter also urged rejection of emergency systems to determine building occupant status following an evacuation order during a fire or other life-threatening event, healthcare facilities to verify patient identities while reducing the need for close proximity interpersonal interactions COVID-19 mitigation applications for business operations, allowing users to verify identities for vaccine validation, test results and other information, and in-home electronic devices with facial recognition, like smart baby monitors Customization of heating, lighting, sound and other room features based on building occupant preference/needs, and online test proctoring software.

Featured

  • Maximizing Your Security Budget This Year

    Perimeter Security Standards for Multi-Site Businesses

    When you run or own a business that has multiple locations, it is important to set clear perimeter security standards. By doing this, it allows you to assess and mitigate any potential threats or risks at each site or location efficiently and effectively. Read Now

  • ISC West 2024 is a Rousing Success

    The 2024 ISC West security tradeshow marked a pivotal moment in the industry, showcasing cutting-edge technology and innovative solutions to address evolving security challenges. Exhibitors left the event with a profound sense of satisfaction, as they witnessed a high level of engagement from attendees and forged valuable connections with potential clients and partners. Read Now

    • Industry Events
    • ISC West
  • Live From ISC West: Day 2

    What a great show ISC West 2024 has been so far. The second day on Thursday was as busy or even more hectic than the first. Remember to keep tabs on our Live From ISC West page for news and updates from the show floor at the Sands Expo, because there’s more news coming out than anyone could be expected to keep track of. Read Now

    • Industry Events
    • ISC West
  • A Unique Perspective on ISC West 2024

    Navigating a tradeshow post-knee surgery can be quite the endeavor, but utilizing an electric scooter adds an interesting twist to the experience. While it may initially feel like a limitation, it actually provides a unique perspective on traversing through the bustling crowds and expansive exhibition halls. Read Now

    • Industry Events
    • ISC West

Featured Cybersecurity

New Products

  • Unified VMS

    AxxonSoft introduces version 2.0 of the Axxon One VMS. The new release features integrations with various physical security systems, making Axxon One a unified VMS. Other enhancements include new AI video analytics and intelligent search functions, hardened cybersecurity, usability and performance improvements, and expanded cloud capabilities 3

  • EasyGate SPT and SPD

    EasyGate SPT SPD

    Security solutions do not have to be ordinary, let alone unattractive. Having renewed their best-selling speed gates, Cominfo has once again demonstrated their Art of Security philosophy in practice — and confirmed their position as an industry-leading manufacturers of premium speed gates and turnstiles. 3

  • HD2055 Modular Barricade

    Delta Scientific’s electric HD2055 modular shallow foundation barricade is tested to ASTM M50/P1 with negative penetration from the vehicle upon impact. With a shallow foundation of only 24 inches, the HD2055 can be installed without worrying about buried power lines and other below grade obstructions. The modular make-up of the barrier also allows you to cover wider roadways by adding additional modules to the system. The HD2055 boasts an Emergency Fast Operation of 1.5 seconds giving the guard ample time to deploy under a high threat situation. 3