FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, July 9, 2019
Contact: Evan Greer, 978-852-6457, firstname.lastname@example.org
Digital rights group Fight for the Future, known for organizing many of the largest online protests in history, has launched BanFacialRecognition.com, becoming the first national organization to call for a complete Federal ban on government use of facial recognition surveillance.
The page features an eerie and dystopian face scanning animation, and allows Internet users to easily contact their local, state, and federal lawmakers. It reads: “Silicon Valley lobbyists are disingenuously calling for light “regulation” of facial recognition so they can continue to profit by rapidly spreading this surveillance dragnet. They’re trying to avoid the real debate: whether technology this dangerous should even exist. Industry and government friendly oversight will not fix the dangers inherent in law enforcement use of facial recognition: we need an all out ban.”
An infographic further down the page drives the argument home: “Facial recognition is unlike any other form of surveillance. It enables automated and ubiquitous monitoring of an entire population, and is nearly impossible to avoid. If we don’t stop it from spreading, it will become the hallmark of authoritarian states, used not to keep us safe, but to control and oppress us.”
“Imagine if we could go back in time and prevent governments around the world from ever building nuclear or biological weapons. That’s the moment in history we’re in right now with facial recognition,” said Evan Greer, deputy director of Fight for the Future (pronouns: she/her), “This surveillance technology poses such a profound threat to the future of human society and basic liberty that its dangers far outweigh any potential benefits. We don’t need to regulate it, we need to ban it entirely.”
Momentum against facial recognition is growing. This weekend, we learned that ICE and the FBI use facial recognition on millions of Americans’ drivers license photos, getting access to our personal information with no consent. Both Democrat and Republican legislators were outraged—both Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Jim Jordan, polar opposites in Congress, agree that the use of facial recognition poses a huge threat to civil liberties.
Cities are involved too: San Francisco and Somerville, Massachusetts, have both banned facial recognition. Even Axon, which makes tasers and body cams for police officers, said it would not commercialize facial recognition because it cannot currently “ethically justify” its use.
We’re joining this outcry to call for a complete ban on facial recognition. It’s time the federal government take a stand now to prevent this technology from proliferating across the country.