500 signatures reached
To: Dear Mayor Brandon Scott, Council President Nick Mosby and Councilman Mark Conway
#BanFRT in Baltimore
Dear Mayor Brandon Scott, Council President Nick Mosby and Councilman Mark Conway,
We fully support extending the current moratorium (i.e temporary ban) on facial recognition technology into a permanent ban and ask that you do the same.
Last year, the City Council rightly enacted a temporary ban on facial recognition software with good reason––this technology and other forms of biometric surveillance––is too dangerous to be used in the communities we come from and care for deeply. If this inherently-biased technology is deployed, the impact––intended or not––will be that anyone who is not white-presenting and male-presenting (i.e. darker-skinned people, women, Muslims, LGBTQ people and people who exist at any or all of these intersections) will have more frequent and brutal contact with police.
We believe that to allow the facial recognition technology moratorium to expire would further entrench Baltimore’s inequitable and inhumane system of policing that was called out in the Federal Department of Justice report in 2015. Furthermore, not extending the moratorium will further undermine public trust in the Mayor’s commitment to true police transparency, integrity and accountability.
While everyday people are coming together to demand a truly just and equitable future for this country, surveillance technology is being used to shore up unjust systems and undermine needed social change. The decisions that led you to reject facial recognition software last year have not magically changed. Now, more than ever, we need you to reject the fools’ gold of AI algorithms and easy surveillance “solutions” and invest in new and bold programs that prevent harm and support survivors of harm after-the-fact.
Your administration can do this by investing in community-building, not community surveillance. And that work cannot and should not happen at the expense of or threat to Baltimoreans Constitutional and civil rights.
We affirm that Baltimore is Charm City, and our residents and visitors of Baltimore City have a right to exist in our charming public spaces without fear of being watched, recorded and monitored by the government without their consent.
Facial recognition software cannot and will not stop or prevent harm, it will only do more harm to already overpoliced and underprotected communities.
We ask that you use your position to truly represent the people you serve and embrace what we know is possible and want for our communities by extending the current ban on facial recognition technology, now. Together, we can create a new digital age that rejects dangerous surveillance and focuses instead on how we can use technology to harness resources to free our communities, nurture our connections, and create equity and justice for all. Join us. Please contact Rob Ferrell at [email protected] with any questions about this letter.
Why is this important?
Facial recognition technology (FRT) is too dangerous to be unleashed on our communities. If this inherently-biased technology is deployed, the impact––intended or not––will be that anyone who is not white-presenting and male-presenting (i.e. darker-skinned people, women, Muslims, LGBTQ people and people who exist at any or all of these intersections) will have more frequent and brutal contact with police.
Baltimore City has a temporary ban on facial recognition technology now, and with your help we can make it permanent.
How it will be delivered