Technology Insight

Minneapolis becomes latest city to ban use of facial recognition technology

Last week, the Minneapolis City Council passed an ordinance that prohibits the city from buying facial recognition technology or using any data derived from it. Notably, however, the ordinance does include an exception for providing access control and security for employees in workplaces.

Minneapolis joins a growing list of major U.S. cities, including Boston, San Francisco and Portland, that have approved measures designed to curtail the technology’s use.

“We have heard strong concerns from community about technology that invades their privacy without their consent, and we need to regulate it,” Council Member Steve Fletcher, who authored the ordinance, said in a statement. “This ordinance bars its use by city departments with some narrow exceptions that do not risk harm to its subjects.”

Additionally, the new ordinance creates a process for city departments to request additional permitted uses of facial recognition programs and data through an exception process.