Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

Were citizens having trouble with this in SF? I live in SF and have never seen police use facial recognition, nor have I seen anyone have a problem with it's use at a Governmental level.

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 grew up in a pretty dangerous city and have been robbed at gunpoint. San Francisco is _not_ a dangerous city and the problems it has pales in comparison to many cities in the United States, especially in the rust belt. Are there homeless people? Yeah. Is the city trying to address it? I honestly think so, it's not a simple problem to solve.

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?


Clearly, people are living there to pursue their careers. Many can't stand it for long and leave after a few years. I know some of these people.

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.


I’m amazed at how much power this city body is.

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.


Just because your city is more dangerous doesn't mean that SF isn't. I've had friends robbed right outside their apartments, acquaintances' teeth smashed in by thieves in broad daylight, and I've even personally apprehended a shoplifter running through one of the main streets next to Union Square. Nowhere else in America have I seen these problems, let alone the buckets of human waste on the streets and guys shooting up right next to the local Best Buy.


In what major city did you grow up in where robberies don't exist or shoplifting isn't a thing?


Is there an approved list of major cities where we have collectively decided that this behavior is just "okay" and "normal"? I'm growing a little tired of this mantra that because we can point to some place that indeed has it worse (or way worse) than SF/Seattle/LA wherever that it's not a problem or we're wrong to thing it is.


What I'm getting at is you live in a city, not a college town. Cities have large populations which means some of the citizens are anti-social and derelict. It all comes with the price of living in a city (especially in the United States).


Yeah and I get that that's your point, but it's not immediately clear to me that size is the problem. But we don't have these problems in e.g. Singapore or Tokyo - cities that are several orders of magnitude larger than SF or most cities in the US. It seems weirdly fatalistic to shrug our shoulders and say "meh" about this problem.


You’re talking about major cities not even located in the US. The US has a very different history than either of those places and tons of systemic social issues caused from decisions made in our history. It’s like comparing apples and oranges.


So we should willingly accept drastically more dangerous living conditions than other major cities? If we know that safe places like that exist then why don't we try to emulate it?

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.


Alright, go and convince the citizens of a major US metro to emulate it. Good luck.


I was raised in a capital city in a southern state, lived in a rural part of another southern state, now live in upstate NY and frequently go to the city. Obviously I'd hear about robberies and shoplifting, but nowhere in America have I been as close to the crimes as I have in SF.

Some numbers if you want them: https://www.californiacitynews.org/2018/10/what%E2%80%99s-ca... https://www.economist.com/united-states/2019/02/16/property-...


What cities don’t have fentanyl overdose issues. Let’s forget about it, other cities are worse.


New York. Having lived in both NY and SF, New York is so much better re: the homeless.

Also Tokyo seems pretty great, but I haven't lived there.


Tokyo is not located in the US. New York used to be a war zone for most of its existence and fairly recently (2000s) has become much safer but could easily fall back to old ways.


New York becoming much safer is proof that San Francisco could do the same, but doesn't for whatever reason. There's practically no police presence in SF unlike NYC where you can barely go one block without seeing NYPD.


I've lived here for 15 years and the situation has grown vastly worse in the last 2-3 years. To those of us who have lived in _this_ city for a long time, what we are seeing is a full blown crisis that needs to be priority number one, two, three and four - at least until we get things moving in the right direction.



My roommate was stabbed on 6th and Folsom at 8PM.

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.


I successfully ran from an armed robber in SF at around ~7PM. I spotted his gun from ~15 feet and pulled my friend into traffic to run away. Others have been shot and killed on the same block. My co-worker was robbed with a gun inside the Caltrain station in the early evening.

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.


Compare homicides with San Francisco and any major metro of similar size and San Francisco will show it's not that dangerous. It might appear dangerous because the middle class and upper-middle class are not sheltered from everything here but it isn't that dangerous compared to most other cities.

There were 42 homicides in San Francisco (2018).

https://www.mercurynews.com/2018/01/09/bay-area-homicides-20...

There were 184 homicides in Memphis last year (2018), Memphis has roughly 200,000 less people than San Francisco

https://dailymemphian.com/article/2253/Memphis-homicides-up-...

There were 156 homicides in Indianapolis last year (2018), Indianapolis has roughly the same population as San Francisco

https://www.theindychannel.com/news/local-news/indianapolis/...

There were 200 homicides in Kansas City (2018), Kansas City is roughly 1/2 the population of San Francisco

https://www.kcur.org/post/kansas-city-homicides-2018#stream/...

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

https://www.ksdk.com/article/news/crime/homicides-in-the-cit...

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).

https://www.sfchronicle.com/crime/article/Homicides-fall-acr...


Because there are no other crimes than homicides...


reposting my comment below:

"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.


Thank you for adding this to the discussion. The way some people are talking about homelessness and crime in this thread makes me wonder if they are upset that SF won’t be making use of facial recognition to criminalize and displace the homeless. I really hope most of us understand that capitulation an ever increasing surveillance state isn’t how you solve a housing crisis. We must fight for what’s right on many fronts simultaneously.


A pro-active legislation against tech doesn't cost in the current budget, is hard to account for as a cost in a future budget, doesn't call anyone's current actions out as problematic, and doesn't really require a change at the employee level. It's basically free.

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.


Resources are finite, as is time. Those are costs.

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.


Nope - from the article "The facial recognition fight in San Francisco is largely theoretical — the police department does not currently deploy facial recognition technology, except in its airport and ports that are under federal jurisdiction and are not impacted by the legislation."

Drugs, homelessness, human feces, insane housing prices -- well at least we can solve theoretical facial recognition


And yet no efforts at fecal recognition...


There's a business that does this for ascribing blame for dog feces; shouldn't be hard to apply to waste, no matter the source.

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/12/19/pooprints-brings-in-millions...

(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.)


Or, just use the less expensive option to deploy nanny state level camera coverage and use the facial recognition to identify the dog's owner so the bills can be sent out by some AI system purchased from Amazon. Your fines will be delivered in 48 hours for free or possibly the same day if they have a facial recognition data center in your local area.


Probably not that hard to build a fecal recognition model, it's what comes after that's more difficult. "It's like Uber for scooping"


SF already has this: http://mobile311.sfgov.org/reports?utf8=%E2%9C%93&q=poop

Just report the poop on 311 and they go clean it up. Yes it works.


That looks like it only has a search interface. How do you add a new report?


The link to download the 311 reporting app for Android and iOS are on the right side of page when viewed on a desktop, not sure how it looks on mobile however the link should still be there.


If you think about it, it seems that the industry here is obsessed with solving all kinds of theoretical AI risks.

We should probably get a resolution on the table banning the use of ED-209s before people get killed.


Exactly. When you can't get anything useful done, pass a law that's arbitrarily populist and pat yourself on the back.


I'm a constituent and I don't want to be tracked as I walk around in public. I'm glad they're listening to people like me.


I don't disagree, by the way.

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.


> 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.


Aaron Peskin is the king of pandering in this city. He comes up with bills like this all the time.

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 can think of 49 states that feel this way about your senators. Oh the irony.


There is the comfort that there are only two of them.


Well there's actually one senator and one lizard, assuming of course that you consider dinosaurs lizards and not birds.


> 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.

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.


Fully agree, also having multiple municipalities push through legislation like this can indicate to the state, which can take years to legislate to these issues, that there is a growing appetite.

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.


I agree they have better things to be doing but there's nothing wrong with them saying "we see where this road is going and we're not going down it". It's not like doing that costs money.


"have never seen police use facial recognition"

Now you never will.


How would you _see_ facial recognition technology being used?

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.


What they need to do is integrate their BaRT and Muni cameras, feed them images of felons with outstanding warrants and alert authorities when they ping so authorities can check it out.

But, as always, the SF supes are entranced by high-viz lo-impact measures. It’s their MO.


The standard response from the apologists re: what you're pointing out is, "The Board of Supervisors can walk and chew gum at the same time."

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.


If you're worried about how SF is allocating resources, then a pre-emptive ban on this stuff is an extremely efficient way to regulate in this area (compared to doing studies once it's built, or creating an oversight panel etc.).


what is your relationship to the police that you expect to know whether they are using facial recognition or not? here in Canada they certainly are




Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: