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Portland Adopts Landmark Facial Recognition Ordinances

By The Hill

September 11, 2020

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The City Council of Portland, OR, on Wednesday adopted two landmark ordinances barring city and private usage of facial recognition technology.

The measures ban city bureaus from obtaining or using the technology with minimal exceptions, and prohibit private entities from using face-scanning software for identification in all public accommodations.

The bans will go into effect in January, with exemptions permitted for personal verification, such as for opening smartphones.

A study by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology released last December found that most facial recognition systems have "demographic differentials" that can undermine their accuracy based on an individual's age, gender, or race.

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