The City of Easthampton today voted to pass a ban on the municipal use of face surveillance technology. Easthampton now joins six other Massachusetts municipalities—Boston, Springfield, Cambridge, Northampton, Brookline, and Somerville—which passed bans over the past year.
Kade Crockford, director of the Technology for Liberty Program at the ACLU of Massachusetts, released the following statement in response:
“Over 1 million Massachusetts residents are now protected by municipal bans on face surveillance technology, the dangers of which are well documented—especially for Black people. This is a victory for privacy rights and for people like Robert Williams, a Black man in Michigan who was arrested for a crime he didn’t commit, based solely on a false facial recognition match. At a time when people nationwide are crying out for justice from racist policing, we must do everything we can to ensure police departments are not using racially biased, dangerous technology that can supercharge police abuse of Black and brown people. We are grateful to the Easthampton City Council for passing this ordinance. Lawmakers on Beacon Hill should pass a statewide moratorium immediately so that everyone in the Commonwealth enjoys the same protections against face surveillance.”
Javier Luengo-Garrido, Community Advocate and Coordinator of the Immigrant Protection Project at the ACLU of Massachusetts, released the following statement in response:
“We are particularly grateful to Councilor Homar Gomez, the ordinance’s lead sponsor, and to Councilor Thomas Peake, who co-sponsored this measure. We hope Easthampton will serve as a model for other cities and towns in the Commonwealth looking to protect their residents from flawed, racially biased surveillance technologies.”