EASTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Easthampton has voted to pass a ban on the use of facial recognition technology, the ACLU of Massachusetts announced Wednesday.
The city now joins other Massachusetts municipalities including Boston, Springfield, Cambridge, Northampton, Brookline, and Somerville, which passed bans over the past year.
Director of the Technology for Liberty Program at the ACLU of Massachusetts stated the following:
“Over 1 million Massachusetts residents are now protected by municipal bans on face surveillance technology, the dangers of which are well documented—especially for Black people. This is a victory for privacy rights and for people like Robert Williams, a Black man in Michigan who was arrested for a crime he didn’t commit, based solely on a false facial recognition match. At a time when people nationwide are crying out for justice from racist policing, we must do everything we can to ensure police departments are not using racially-biased, dangerous technology that can supercharge police abuse of Black and brown people. We are grateful to the Easthampton City Council for passing this ordinance. Lawmakers on Beacon Hill should pass a statewide moratorium immediately so that everyone in the Commonwealth enjoys the same protections against face surveillance.”Kade Crockford, Director of the Technology for Liberty Program at the ACLU of Massachusetts
Community Advocate and Coordinator of the Immigrant Protection Project at the ACLU of Massachusetts, Javier Luengo-Garrido, added, “We are particularly grateful to Councilor Homar Gomez, the ordinance’s lead sponsor, and to Councilor Thomas Peake, who co-sponsored this measure. We hope Easthampton will serve as a model for other cities and towns in the Commonwealth looking to protect their residents from flawed, racially-biased surveillance technologies.”
22News has reached out to the mayor of Easthampton for a statement, we’ll let you know when we hear back.