If you’re going to San Francisco

Be sure to wear — aw, heck, it doesn’t matter what you wear, just as long as you are there, because the Board of Supervisors doesn’t want to know what you look like:

Legislators in San Francisco have voted to ban the use of facial recognition, the first US city to do so.

The emerging technology will not be allowed to be used by local agencies, such as the city’s transport authority, or law enforcement.

Additionally, any plans to buy any kind of new surveillance technology must now be approved by city administrators.

Opponents of the measure said it will put people’s safety at risk and hinder efforts to fight crime.

Those in favour of the move said the technology as it exists today is unreliable, and represented an unnecessary infringement on people’s privacy and liberty.

In particular, opponents argued the systems are error prone, particularly when dealing with women or people with darker skin.

I concur with that “error-prone” judgment, but the idea that San Francisco sees itself as a guardian of privacy and liberty is utterly hilarious: you want privacy in the Holy City, you live behind a gate, or you take a dump on the sidewalk. None other need apply.

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