City Councilors meet to further discuss proposed ban on facial recognition technology in Springfield

Hampden County

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Springfield City Council met on Monday evening to further discuss a proposed ban on facial recognition technology. 

Some Springfield City Councilors want to ban facial recognition technology, in anticipation of the city’s police department using body cameras. 

The Springfield Police Department is taking steps to implement the use of body cameras which would also have facial recognition technology. Springfield City Councilors, Orlando Ramos and Adam Gomez, proposed an ordinance that would ban the use of the new technology.  

They believe facial recognition technology breaches residents’ privacy.  

Ramos explained, “Facial surveillance technology has proven to be inaccurate and inefficient so what we are trying to do right now it kind of hit the pause button try to study the issue a little bit more, regulate it before we put it to practice.” 

Facial recognition technology has reportedly misidentified people of color and women in the past, leaving some residents with questions and concerns. 

“I think the cameras are great but my experience with facial recognition and I’m just using it on my computer is that it’s a great idea but like many of these things it doesn’t actually work,” said David Gaby of Springfield. 

Mayor Dominic Sarno and Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood believe the technology would be a valuable tool for the police department. Only three municipalities in Massachusetts, Northampton, Brookline, and Somerville have banned the use of facial recognition technology. 

The ordinance would have to be voted on by the full City Council in order to be approved. And if the ban were to pass, Mayor Domenic Sarno has already said he will veto it. 

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