In May 2019, San Francisco became the first U.S. city to ban the use of facial recognition technology by police and other municipal agencies, part of a broader surveillance oversight move. Since then, dozens of other municipalities have followed in a groundswell of local initiatives to halt the spread of a technology that's seen as violating "contextual integrity" and reinforcing racial bias in policing. The Ban Facial Recognition campaign, a coalition of more than 2 dozen organizations including Greenpeace, Tor, EPIC, and MoveOn.org highlights how this reckoning has now broken out as a more mainstream political issue. The group's website features a map of key facial recognition deployments and bans.
This points towards a future where the progress of facial recognition in local government is slowed or turned back, and significant changes to how the technology is designed, purchased, and deployed and used will need to be made—with impacts for tech governance that will shape all future urban tech efforts.