Portland, Maine Passes Facial Recognition Ban That Says The City Can Fire Employees For Violating It

from the we'll-see-if-the-city's-union-is-more-powerful-than-the-city,-I-guess dept

Another facial recognition ban has been passed, bringing a bit more enforceable privacy to the eastern side of the nation. Most of the ban action to date has been on the West Coast, with small pockets of resistance popping up elsewhere. Well, mainly just Massachusetts. The latest ban passed during the most recent election, gives Portland, Maine residents the freedom to live their lives with a little less panopticon.

In Maine, voters in the state’s largest city recently enacted one of the toughest facial recognition bans in the country in the Nov. 3 elections, outlawing both use of the technology by local police and the city government.

The ban that passed during this referendum is an improvement over the original proposal. This version makes it enforceable. There are consequences for violating that go beyond the expected fines and fees that just shift tax dollars from one government agency to another.

The new law allows citizens to sue the city for illegal facial recognition surveillance by the city police or government. Citizens could get up to $1,000 per violation plus legal fees, if they prevail in court. Municipal employees can be fired for violating the ban.

Of course, these fines and fees just refund some tax dollars to taxpayers. But this is better than allowing the city to collect the fines, which isn’t much of a deterrent to government agencies which can expect to see some of their paid fines dumped back into their pockets with the next budget approval.

The firing threat may be even more effective than giving taxpayers some of their taxes back. When a job’s on the line, government employees are far less likely to abuse their power.

This ban was originally passed by the city council three months ahead of the election. But that ban did not include the possible firing of violators. It was the city’s residents who insisted on this additional accountability measure. The ban goes into effect next year and cannot be removed for the next five years. That’s five years of surveillance creep mitigation. The people have spoken. And what they’re saying more and more frequently is they don’t want their lives and bodies to be little more than data points for law enforcement surveillance programs.

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Comments on “Portland, Maine Passes Facial Recognition Ban That Says The City Can Fire Employees For Violating It”

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That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Seeing someone spam the ever lover hell out of multiple comment sections and then act shocked and offended when the spam filter kicks in is like watching someone repeatedly smash their hands with a hammer and then complain about the pain; far from garnering sympathy for their ‘suffering’ or convincing people that they’re right all it does is show what a dishonest idiot they are.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: re: *drools all over chest*

You don’t have a viewpoint. You have a bunch of stupid and conflicting thoughts, probably planted there by InfoWars or some other equally reliable source of information, which you regularly and incoherently barf all over the place in an effort to… what? I really don’t have any idea what you’re trying to accomplish. Are you a masochist? You’re sure as hell not trying to convince anyone of anything. All you do is act like a child and call people names, make baseless accusations, lie about everything and demonstrate a complete lack of understanding about every topic.

Just go away like you promised and let the adults speak.

That One Guy (profile) says:

That's how you do it

Fines can be shrugged off(all the more so if it’s the city footing the bill) but the risk of losing your job for violating the ban is something that’s likely to have a lot more impact so long as those in charge of applying the penalty are willing to deal with the complaints from whiners about how ‘following the law is too hard!‘.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: That's how you do it

Absolutely. If the fine comes from the city then the offenders have no reason to care no matter how large the amount is, but levy it against the guilty parties and you don’t even need to enter six digit territory for a fine to suddenly really hurt and provide motivation not to do something.

A $100,000 settlement paid for by the taxpayers is easy enough for a cop/official to shrug off because it’s not like it’s their money, whereas a $10,000 fine paid directly by them is likely to have a very real impact on them and other cops/officials who might face the same if they cross the line.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Perhaps, but of the two only one of them is likely to get a cop/official to give a damn, and as a bonus it also costs the taxpayers less because by making it personal you vastly increase it’s effectiveness as a penalty/deterrent even if you significantly shrink the amount.

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