Proposed ban on facial recognition technology moves forward in Minneapolis

Minneapolis is one step closer to banning police and other city departments from using facial recognition technology

The city’s Public Health and Safety Committee took up a proposal on Thursday that would amend the city’s surveillance ordinance to ban the city from obtaining and using facial recognition technology. Facial recognition is an "automated or semi-automated process that assists in identifying or verifying an individual, or capturing information about an individual, based upon the individual’s face."

The ordinance was proposed by Council Member Steve Fletcher, who said in his report that facial recognition technology "has been shown to be less accurate in identifying people of color and women" and "has the potential to further harm already disadvantaged communities through incorrect identifications."

Fletcher also said the use of facial recognition technology to surveil public places would be "uniquely intrusive to all who live in, work in, or visit the city and would harm the public trust in city government."

The committee passed the proposed ordinance without discussion. The Policy and Government Oversight Committee will now hold a public hearing on the proposal, after which it will go before the full City Council for a vote.