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An Act to Ban Facial Surveillance by Public Officials in Portland ­

Question: “An Act to Ban Facial Surveillance by Public Officials in Portland will ban the city of Portland and its departments and officials from using or authorizing the use of any facial surveillance software on any groups or members of the public, and provides a right to members of the public to sue if facial surveillance data is illegally gathered and/or used.”What does this Question Mean?Facial surveillance (sometimes called facial recognition) refers to any computer program or technology that can identify an individual based on the unique physical characteristics of their face. These systems are used both in consumer technologies such as cell phones as well as in law enforcement. The City of Portland, including the Portland Police Department, does not currently use facial surveillance. Over the summer, the City Council passed a facial surveillance ban. This ballot question seeks to strengthen the existing ban and add enforcement measures. It would prohibit the City from using facial surveillance or from entering into any contract or agreement with any third parties to use facial surveillance on behalf of the City. It also allows individuals to sue the City if they are subjected to unlawful facial surveillance and makes any evidence obtained through facial surveillance unusable in courts. This act does not prohibit the use of facial surveillance by private businesses or individuals.

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  • Yes - For the Measure

  • No - Against the Measure

* Strengthens the existing ban

* Ensures the existing ban cannot be repealed or amended for 5 years without voter approval

* Allows individuals to sue the city if they are surveilled unlawfully, does not allow individuals to seek frivolous suits against the city

* Does not interfere with the work of Portland Police, as they do not have this technology

* Demonstrates public opposition to mass surveillance

* Provides a stop-gap in Portland against extra-legal surveillance by law enforcement at the State level
* Facial recognition could potentially help increase security

* The Department of Homeland security may want to use facial recognition in the future at international entry points

* The enforcement provisions could conflict with collective bargaining agreements for city staff

* This ban could not be repealed or amended for 5 years without voter approval