please remember that there are coalitions of activists advocating multiple issues for civil rights simultaneously, and that a victory in one area (e.g. fighting the surveillance state) is neither mutually exclusive nor to the detriment of another equal or greater social ill (e.g. homelessness).
In the meantime, enjoy these videos of what they're doing with facial recognition in China:
(Social credit system)
(broad piece on facial recognition):
Democracies operate in small steps rather than broad strokes like totalitarian states.
I used to recognize my friends in a crowd by their gait before I got glasses. It could be better than faces in some ways.
I believe they can get phones from a certain area but need a warrant.
I for one prefer the rise of the police state.
Have you been to China lately? Amazingly safe. Never once seen a broken car window anywhere there. There is no such thing as smash-and-grab there anymore and carjackings are unheard of. Used to be a lot of petty crime, not anymore. Cameras are everywhere in big cities. It is safe for any attractive young female to walk out on the streets at midnight there.
They use face-recognition technology heavily and catch criminals with the help of it.
I dream of the day law enforcement in the U.S. can link up to Facebook and find the real identities of criminals caught on video. Sadly I don't think that day will ever come. Or maybe in other states but definitely not in California. Crime fighting in California is still stuck in the 80s.
CHP actively scanning the highways for stolen plates using OCR readers? Technically possible but not happening (not sure why).
Police departments linking up to facebook to find thieves caught on 1080p video? Possible but not happening (not legally allowed?).
So is the US. Meanwhile, China is already using their facial recognition technology to track ethnic and religious minorities and is currently "holding as many as a million of them in detention camps" . We have already seen the US government move in a decidedly nationalistic direction over the past few years. Begging for a police state in the name of diminishing returns on security is playing with fire, and we do not need to look far back into the history of the US or Europe to see where that can lead.
This is basically true in 99% of the US as well. Not really sure what you're trying to say here.
The rest of your comment basically sounds like, "Fuck civil rights."
New Orleans: 1121.41
Stockton CA: 1414.56
St Louis: 2082.29
This goes along with what the parent was saying. Cops don't go after non-life threatening crimes.
It's also not generally the kind of crime people are thinking about when they say they are worried about their safety.
And guess what, property crime has less impact on the rich too. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
This is obviously not true. Wealthy neighborhoods have far less crime.
The point is that because of the policies of SF to go easy on theft, but go hard on violence, causes a lot of theft.
This doesn't just hurt wealthy people, but anyone who owns anything worth stealing, which in turn hurts any poor people trying to make their way out of the gutter.
If they had their police enforce against both types of crime, SF wouldn't look as third worldish as it now does, with lawless shanty towns surrounding ultra rich, well protected areas. You've probably never lived in a very poor neighborhood, but I have. In my experience those that aren't involved in criminal activity, and are trying to get into a better situation want police presence. They want crackdown on crime, because people just trying to live their lives in these neighborhoods these are the ones that these crimes hurt the most.
This blindeye'd activism which prevents the rule of law in poor areas causes the very same hopeless conditions they are rallying against.
Do you know how many people in the Bay Area stopped reporting crime because the police won't do anything about it?
Get your car robbed? Call the police and they tell you to fill a report out online.
You have a reason to think unreported crime is higher in S.F. than other places? Which is what would make comparative crime statistics inaccurate for S.F.? An evidence-based reason?
Anyone being harmed by violence is too many people, anywhere. I'm sorry if you have been harmed by violence in SF. But in America, it's the safety and comfort of those who are already most safe and comfortable that are prioritized, and the most safe and comfortable believe this is their right. In America, we can't distinguish discomfort from threats to safety.
S.F. is in fact much safer than many many American cities. Deal with it. (And the wealthy are in fact safer than the poor in almost any city).
You want to see a police force that really can't be trusted to do anything about anything, and is engaged in rampant criminality on top of that, plus routine violations of the constitution, come visit Baltimore. Not saying the SF police are "good", I don't think any police are, but you don't have it especially bad in SF. Maybe you don't call the police because you don't think it will accomplish anything -- do you know how many people in the USA don't call the police because they think the police may further victimize them? Probably some in S.F. too, depending on who they are...
I guess you do, so how many?
I'm not saying the technology wouldn't be amazingly useful in fighting the multiple rampant problems happening in SF (God I wish it were that easy, there is quite a lot I despise about living in SF). But the long-term impact of doing so would be unpredictable at best and catastrophic at worst.
And that's perfectly OK according to the SF City Council.
Yes, facial recognition could help cops identify a robber more quickly and yes surveillance has been used to expedite investigations, but what we've seen is that cops across the board will disproportionately abuse this sort of technology to track and monitor (and sometimes later harass) protesters, activists, ethnic/religious minorities and the undocumented.
Here's one instance at the federal level, but abuse happens at the state and local level constantly.
There are ways of cutting down on racial profiling that don't require turning our city into a panopticon.
Source 1) https://hoodline.com/2019/04/crime-is-on-the-rise-in-san-fra...
Source 1b) https://www.ppic.org/publication/crime-trends-in-california/
Source 2) home burgled twice so far in 2019
Property crimes are obviously way up even if violent crimes aren’t so much.
I think this conclusion is due to missing some of the downsides. Could it cut costs and speed investigations? Certainly! But try to imagine some of the creative ways in which a naive implementation could be abused.
I think everyone who supports the ban and all the supervisors that voted for it have never been a victim of a crime. Or at least never been a victim of a crime recorded on camera.
I bet 99% of the people who have been a victim of a crime that was recorded on camera and yet nothing was done to catch the criminals would be in favor of using facial recognition technology by the police.
Facial recognition is a threat to administrative bloat because it improves the efficiency of the police and would actually reduce all those crises that are leading to higher salaries for administrators tasked with solving those oh so lucrative problems that are created by gaps in law enforcement.
Progress can't be stuffed back into the bottle, but it does need to be guided and controlled. It feels very SF these days, sad to say, to long for the good old days by placing the collective head into the collective sand (as with allowing new/taller buildings to be built).
Technology is neutral, what matters is what we do with it.
Your second question: there's a massive difference between being observed by an individual officer and being perpetually tracked by an apparatus of ubiquitous cameras that cross-reference your face with your background information, possible criminal record, citizenship status, etc. It also opens the flood gates for horrific scenarios like the 'social credit system' that they've implemented in China. Go look that one up and tell me you're still ok with facial recognition.
However, again, I think that's about what you do with the ability and not the ability itself. You don't need facial recognition to implement the social credit system: a simple plastic card would do. Your first name, middle initial and last name as a triple are enough to uniquely identify you on the Texas voting registry 80% of the time . This ship has long sailed. That's again why I'm in favor of regulating the problematic uses of information and technology and not addressing the specific technology or method of implementation.
We agree on this in principle. But again, once authorities have any of this data in their possession, abuse always happens. Literally always.
IMO the root problem is not "oh, the cops are just using all my PII and biometric data inappropriately" the root problem is that "the cops have possession of all my PII and biometric data to begin with."
You have the symptom and disease reversed here, IMO.
> But again, once authorities have any of this data in their possession, abuse always happens. Literally always.
Well, before something can be abused it must first be available to use. Conversely, once a tool is available to use some may abuse it.
For example, if collecting fingerprints or DNA were completely forbidden then that might prevent abuse of such data (such as false matches). But it would also prevent any beneficial uses as well.
Banning facial recognition prevents not only abuse but also any potential good uses, such as locating victims of abduction or trafficking, and perhaps other uses we cannot foresee.
Killing it in its infancy may be easier than doing so after it takes root, but it also gives society less opportunity to learn what the consequences of the technology may be, intended and unintended, good or ill.
We know it can be abused, especially in the hands of an authoritarian government, but does that mean it cannot be used responsibly? Anything that gives the state power could be turned against the people, as libertarians might warn, but social progress also requires that we learn to work together rather than reject anything which might do us harm.
Perhaps a better argument for an early and complete local ban might be that it allows other regions to be the test subjects. Or that by taking a less compromising stance the anti-facial recognition side gains a stronger bargaining position at the table. But those arguments are not as attractive, maybe.
It's a valid thought, honestly. Though seeing how tightly the police hold onto this tech once they have it makes it extremely difficult to just test the waters (and also requires vigilant public oversight, which the sheriffs' associations will fight tooth and nail).
Also having cops test this tech out, knowing they're going to be deliberately monitored to how often they use it for good reasons (e.g. child abductions) vs abuse it, would probably produce incredibly biased results. Think about it-- the experiment would be entirely self-serving: cops get to trumpet that it helped them for the legit crime here and there (and sitting through public safety committees, believe me, they will TRUMPET it), while showing that zero cases of misuse happened.
Ultimately, we have to think in systems: sure, ubiquitous surveillance would undoubtedly solve the horrific crime here and there, but at what cost to who we are as people? At what cost to how we protect minorities and the undocumented? At what cost to our already eroding public trust?
To be fair, wouldn't that suggest strong oversight might work then? True, any test might differ from real-world conditions, but theories need to be tested one way or another and it would provide some evidence.
While caution during early testing might lead to less misuse, one could also imagine countervailing factors. For example, lack of familiarity with a new technology might lead to might lead to mistakes. Regulations are written in blood, as they say, and the development of new ethical guidelines may take time.
Which, as we've noted, could be a pragmatic reason to let others be the test subjects. I'm not eager to open the can of worms myself, though it might feel a bit selfish to put it that way.
Fair point, that might work if: 1. a public safety/citizens oversight committee does its job consistently, 2. isn't loaded with police-friendly stooges 3. and isn't gradually de-fanged over time in terms of its power.
All three things, with time, can be manipulated by any given city hall, which is often lock-step with the police force.
"...but theories need to be tested one way or another and it would provide some evidence"
Agreed. And I say let's look at how they've deployed facial recognition in China to put those theories to bed.
Serious q - why not stop the surveillance and the cameras?
That's wrong from the start and leads to people not using their rights (e.g. not going to a demonstration, because they have to fear long-term repression).
> whether the video is assessed by computers or an army of humans, does it matter? Don't human viewers have 'facial recognition technology'?
Scale matters and computers are machines of scale. When I no longer have a risk of getting recognized somewhere but instead know that I will and that this information can be stored long-term that has consequences on peoples behavior. See above why that's bad.
Sure, in theory you could try to employ half the population of SF to get the same result as one computer. That would lead to discussions about usage of limited city resources very, very fast and probably stop this in it's tracks. These options are only equivalent in theory, not in practice.
> Technology is neutral, what matters is what we do with it.
Banning usages society deems bad is a valid option of "what to do with it". If you want other options you are always free to argue for them, but then you can no longer claim it's neutral.
They weren't even using it in the first place. I wish they were. More criminals could be caught.
Predictably, it's somehow worse than that, though.
- information asymmetry
Ideally, SF is just a testing ground for something enacted at a state level that's a bit better worded and more comprehensive, and that in turn is a testing ground for some national legislation that works even better. I mean, that's how it's supposed to work, even if it feels like it rarely does. I've been waiting for something like that to happen on the front of ownership of personal information and online tracking for years. Looks like it's finally getting a bit more attention, but who knows if something useful will come out of it.
I'm not even sure if the article is what you responded to
Private sector and their partners can all still use it
Could that happen? Sure.
But SF Board of Supervisors have SO MANY REALLY BAD PROBLEMS they need to be solving.
Instead they are choosing to be pro-active legislating against tech (because they hate tech, let's admit it). Pro-active legislation is something that should be higher level -- state senate, federal, etc. Local politicians should be listening to their constituents to determine their priorities.
They need to get off their butts and solve our homelessness problem with the $50k per homeless individual they now have in their yearly budget. Why do I still see crap all over the streets? Why do I feel like I'm going to be attacked when I'm in the streets?
Some guy stabbed himself with a knife right buy the Caltrain station last year. If that was an isolated event, I wouldn't have a problem.
Their priorities are so out of whack.
I don't understand how this post caused so many knee jerk reactions to homelessness and housing etc. I swear you bring up _anything_ related to San Francisco and it triggers people. If you hate the city so much how can you stand living there?
There is no excuse for a city with the per-capita wealth of San Francisco to suck as bad as it does, and "overzealous law enforcement" is not even on the list of problems the place actually has.
When a basic level of order is not being maintained, hand-wringing about a hypothetical police state falls flat with members of the public, some of whom are thinking fuck it, moving to Singapore sounds nice right about now.
There used to be an easy solution to this: vote for change. The problem, in my opinion, is that San Francisco has passed the political event horizon of single party rule. There is a monopoly government with no hope for competition and a huge welfare state that keeps the machine moving along. This won’t stop until they run out of other people’s money or Roombas are sophisticated enough to clean up streets. Of course, they’ll ban those too.
I live in one of those cities mentioned and while it has its own problems like any place does, it's quite remarkable how safe it is. You'd have no problem walking alone down some shady alleys as long as you mind your own business.
Some numbers if you want them:
Also Tokyo seems pretty great, but I haven't lived there.
He was in the hospital for quite some time.
Another guy I know was shot 3 times when someone tried to rob him & he ran. He almost lost his ability to walk.
It's a dangerous city.
Lived all over Los Angeles for over a decade and never even witnessed an armed robbery, let alone experienced one. Never had my car or house broken into either.
SF is overrun with dangerous heroin needles, human shit on the streets, burglary, and armed robbery. It's just pathetic and the amount of denial about it is enough to make you think some of the residents are insane.
There were 42 homicides in San Francisco (2018).
There were 184 homicides in Memphis last year (2018), Memphis has roughly 200,000 less people than San Francisco
There were 156 homicides in Indianapolis last year (2018), Indianapolis has roughly the same population as San Francisco
There were 200 homicides in Kansas City (2018), Kansas City is roughly 1/2 the population of San Francisco
If you look at St. Louis and Baltimore you'll realize there are places of similar or smaller population with much more crime
There were 186 homicides in St. Louis (2018), St. Louis is roughly 1/3 the population of San Francisco
San Francisco compared to the rest of the United States is relatively safe and the entire Bay Area is actually getting safer including San Francisco (58 homicides in 2016).
"please remember that there are coalitions of activists advocating multiple issues for civil rights simultaneously, and that a victory in one area (e.g. fighting the surveillance state) is neither mutually exclusive nor to the detriment of another equal or greater social ill (e.g. homelessness)."
oh and "Instead they are choosing to be pro-active legislating against tech..."
While the legislation is pre-emptive (being rolled out before an invasive technology becomes widespread, which, duh), it is in no way pro-active.
This legislation passing is a reaction to years-long, tireless efforts of coalitions of privacy activists, religious/ethnic minority activists, and activists advocating for the undocumented.
By the same token, it doesn't really detract from anything else they should be doing, so using it as a reason to criticize other problems they have doesn't make much sense, unless you assume they can only do one thing at a time, which doesn't seem likely.
I would disagree that "it doesn't detract from anything else they should be doing." Clearly they aren't solving the important problems. What has been done in the last month?
The top thing every week, or perhaps every day, should be how they are solving the important problems. If they are blocked, they should mention how they are blocked and find alternative paths proactively.
Instead they dilute, defer, and distract. These problems have been going on for years, with some of the top-most funding of any city in the country. If nothing is being done, then I think it's safe to assume that they are getting distracted by other things.
Drugs, homelessness, human feces, insane housing prices -- well at least we can solve theoretical facial recognition
(As with many social ills, it's likely a very small number of repeat offenders – so identifying & appropriate addressing them in a prioritized manner is the best way to a solution.)
Just report the poop on 311 and they go clean it up. Yes it works.
We should probably get a resolution on the table banning the use of ED-209s before people get killed.
But can I ask?
- Did you tell any legislators about your opinion? Did they listen to you, or do you just agree with their solution?
- Have you seen any of this tech/tracking anywhere before?
Ultimately I could theorize 100s of laws that would be sensical, but pose no present danger to citizens.
I would suggest that if something appears likely to cause a fire, you can:
a) Wait for the fire to start, put it out, then fix the cause.
b) Preemptively fix the cause, thus preventing the fire from occurring in the first place.
The questions are then "how likely is this to cause a fire" and "how bad would the damage be"? I would estimate that the likelihood for authorities to abuse widespread, centralized facial recognition deployments is approximately 100%, and that in many cases the damage would be extremely high.
I just can't understand why people in District 3 keep re-electing him... even bringing him back after terming out before. I guess his strategy works even while the city has all of these huge problems?
I'd argue the opposite--pro-active legislation is better if it is tried locally first. That way, we can see how different places try different approaches to a given problem to learn what the right approach is to use when later the problem is addressed at the state or national level.
Also- many activist coalitions will simultaneously advocate for legislation through several local and state levels. It’s actually sometimes ineffective to take the ‘one or the other’ approach.
Now you never will.
Do you see a way facial recognition technology would be used to solve the homelessness problem? Like, I'm not sure how you see them being connected, or how banning it will harm efforts to address homelessness.
Isn't this a benefit cause the money saved not doing facial recognition can be used for things that do matter to you?
The reason you see lots of homeless people is because there are lots of poor people who are homeless. Simple as that.
But, as always, the SF supes are entranced by high-viz lo-impact measures. It’s their MO.
But it's undermined by the fact that they're not actually making progress on the actual crises (of which I'd put housing at the top, followed by an overdominant car culture) — so it's more like they're simultaneously failing to walk and failing to chew.