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Second Massachusetts Town Bans Facial Surveillance Tech

By a vote of 178-8 at a recent town meeting, Brookline, Mass., has now voted to ban the use of facial surveillance technology, which makes it the second municipality in the state to do so after Somerville did it in June.

by Tanner Stening, / December 13, 2019
U.S. Customs and Border Protection plans to use facial recognition for more than 97 percent of commercial air travelers by 2022. Flickr/US Customs/Donna Burton

(TNS) — The town of Brookline, Mass., voted Wednesday to ban the use of face surveillance technology, making it the second municipality in Massachusetts to do so.

Town Meeting voted 178-8 to ban the technology, according to WGBH.

Somerville’s city council passed an ordinance in June banning the use of the facial recognition software, becoming the second known U.S. city to do so, after San Francisco.

In a statement, Kade Crockford, director of the Technology for Liberty Program at the ACLU of Massachusetts, applauded the residents of Brookline for “standing up in defense of fundamental rights and civil liberties, including privacy, racial and gender justice, due process and freedom of speech and association.”

“In the absence of national action, municipal governments are taking commonsense action to protect their communities by bringing face surveillance technology under democratic control,” Crockford said. "Now, Massachusetts must also lead the nation by passing a statewide moratorium on this technology until there are civil liberties protections in place.”

©2019, Springfield, Mass. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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