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New Map Shows Where America's Police, Businesses Are Using Facial Recognition and Other Surveillance Tech

Published: July 22, 2019
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Source: Slashdot

"Fight For the Future, a tech-focused nonprofit, on Thursday released its Ban Facial Recognition map, logging the states and cities using surveillance technology," reports CNET -- noting that "surveillance technology" in this case includes Amazon's Ring doorbell security cameras.

A CNET investigation earlier this year highlighted the close ties between Ring and police departments across the US, many of which offer free or discounted Ring doorbells using taxpayer money. The cameras have helped police create an easily accessible surveillance network in neighborhoods and allowed law enforcement to request videos through an app. The arrangement has critics worried about the erosion of privacy. Until the release of Fight for the Future's map, there was no comprehensive directory of all the police departments that had partnered with Ring. Now you can find them by going on the map and toggling it to "Police (Local)." It lists more than 40 cities where police have partnered with Amazon for Ring doorbells....

The map is far from complete. Police departments aren't always up front about the technology that they're using. On the interactive map, Fight for the Future asked visitors to send it any new entries to add to the map.... The map also has filters for airports, stores and stadiums that are using facial recognition, as well as states that provide driver's license photos to the FBI's database of faces...

. Fight for the Future's map also features a filter for regions where facial recognition use by government is banned. For now, that's only in San Francisco; Somerville, Massachusetts; and Oakland, California.

The group's deputy director told CNET that the map's goal is allowing people "to turn their ambient anxiety into effective action by pushing at the local and state level to ban this dangerous tech. 

"No amount of regulation will fix the threat posed by facial recognition," he added. "It must be banned."

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