Face recognition system

Surveillance camera with face recognition system.

Organizers in Denver will begin to collect signatures to get a ban on facial recognition software on the 2020 ballot.

Denverite reports the approval last week of sample petitions for the “5280 not 1984” ballot measure, a reference to the George Orwell book about a totalitarian government.

“The technology could allow individuals to be tracked at any time for any reason without a warrant,” said one of the proponents, Scott Kilgore, in a statement. “There are also grave equity concerns about the accuracy of facial recognition, as the technology has been shown repeatedly to be less accurate at identifying people of color.”

Earlier this year, California banned biometric surveillance technology in police body cameras, as well as running body cam footage through software later.

After Assemblymember Phil Ting introduced the legislation, the American Civil Liberties Union used a face-scanning program to compare portraits of California’s state legislators against a database of mugshots. The software matched Ting and 25 other lawmakers with the faces of a criminal, which he said is proof of the technology’s unreliability.

“5280 not 1984” has until May 4 to collect the necessary signatures.

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