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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Filed Under: facial recognition, maine, portland, privacy, surveillance


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  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Nov 2020 @ 3:48pm

    OKAYING EACH WAS CLEARLY TURNED ON.

    in as AC with these because OKAYING EACH WAS CLEARLY TURNED ON. The Maz can't stand dissent.

    THIS is a LIE: "Comment Held for Moderation..."

    It's NOT "moderation", but censoring and viewpoint discrimination.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Madd the Sane (profile), 23 Nov 2020 @ 3:55pm

      Re: OKAYING EACH WAS CLEARLY TURNED ON.

      Or the system saw an ISP sending a lot of messages and flagged the ISP as a potential bot farm.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 23 Nov 2020 @ 4:00pm

        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.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 23 Nov 2020 @ 4:18pm

      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.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 23 Nov 2020 @ 11:17pm

      Re: OKAYING EACH WAS CLEARLY TURNED ON.

      Weird, I see the same message every so often, but instead of shouting and drooling like an idiot, I carry on with my day and continue the thread when someone responds to it.

      Why are you incapable of the same behaviour, I wonder?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 23 Nov 2020 @ 4:05pm

    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!'.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Koby (profile), 23 Nov 2020 @ 5:34pm

      Re: That's how you do it

      I've always been a fan of not making monetary awards not come out of a general pool of tax dollars, and instead see the payout come from the paycheck/s of the city employee/s that did the violating.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 23 Nov 2020 @ 5:55pm

        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.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 23 Nov 2020 @ 5:59pm

          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

          …still paid for by the taxpayers because who do you think pays for a cop’s salary.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 23 Nov 2020 @ 8:32pm

            Re:

            The amount of furry porn "paid for by the taxpayers" is suddenly reaching disturbing levels...

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            That One Guy (profile), 23 Nov 2020 @ 8:49pm

            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.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Tanner Andrews (profile), 24 Nov 2020 @ 6:40am

            Re:

            still paid for by the taxpayers because who do you think pays for a cop’s salary

            Silly person who does not understand salaries. Employees do not get pay raises to cover penalties assessed against them unless the system is more seriously broken than we understand it to be.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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