The Jackson Police Department will not be able to use facial recognition technology to identify people after the city council voted to preemptively ban the practice on Tuesday. Ward 4 Councilman De’Keither Stamps, who introduced the resolution, cited privacy concerns. JPD does not currently use the technology.
“Our issue, really, wasn’t just the cameras (on the streets). Our issue was the facial recognition portion, which is able to track people and record and document them continually,” Stamps said. “And do we want this technology to be utilized inside of our city?”
He said he wants limits on government powers to track citizens.
“We want the government solving crimes,” he said. “But do we want (a) government that far into tracking us, our whereabouts, where we go, how far we go, all day long and document(ing) it and keep(ing it) on recording for our foreseeable future?”
The resolution—which passed 4-2, with Ward 2 Councilman Melvin V. Priester, Jr., and Ward 7 Councilwoman Virgi Lindsay voting no—mentioned cities across the country that have put in place similar measures. Ward 3 Councilman Kenneth I. Stokes was absent.
“San Francisco, Calif., Somerville, Mass., and Oakland, Calif., have all passed legislation banning FRT,” the resolution says. “Studies have shown that facial recognition surveillance programs routinely identify the wrong person. These errors have real-world impacts, including harassment, wrongful imprisonment and deportation.”
The resolution noted that one of the technology’s deficiencies is that it has a higher error rate when it comes to identifying people who are not white.
“Facial recognition software has been shown to programmatically misidentify people of color, women and children, thus supercharging discrimination and putting vulnerable people at greater risk of systemic abuse,” the resolution states.
Another problematic aspect is that the tool can lend itself to abuse by law-enforcement agencies, the resolution claims.
“Police officers across the United