Springfield City Council considering ban on facial recognition technology

Hampden County

SPRINGFIELD, Mass (WWLP) – The Springfield City Council is considering a ban on facial recognition technology.

Councilor Orlando Ramos proposed the ordinance in anticipation of the police department purchasing and using body cameras.

“We thought it was the best thing to do for the City of Springfield to just ban it,” said Councilor Ramos.

Councilor Ramos said having this legislation in place would be in the city’s best interest. He said facial recognition technology has shown to be ineffective at times identifying people. And banning it would help protect residents’ privacy.

“When it comes to women and people of color, facial recognition cameras can’t really tell the distinction between them, people who somewhat look alike, so this could be dangerous when you talk about public safety,” Springfield City Councilor Orlando Ramos said. “We just want to make sure we avoid that.”

Springfield Police spokesman Ryan Walsh told 22News officers will be testing out body cameras from four different companies over the next few weeks, but these cameras do not incorporate facial recognition technology. They anticipate officers will begin wearing body cameras before the end of the year.

Ramos said the council will vote on the ordinance before the end of October. He said he has the support necessary for it to pass.

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