Portland Bans Facial Recognition Technology to Protect Peaceful Rioters

AP Photo/Noah Berger
AP featured image
Black Lives Matter protesters march through Portland, Ore. after rallying at the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse on Sunday, Aug. 2, 2020. Following an agreement between Democratic Gov. Kate Brown and the Trump administration to reduce federal officers in the city, nightly protests remained largely peaceful without major confrontations between demonstrators and officers. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)


Portland has some really, really strange things going on.

On Wednesday, amid a record-setting season of chaos, arson, vandalism, and violence in the streets, the city decided to ban the use of facial-recognition technology by local law enforcement.

CNN noted it’s a whole new level:

“[Portland’s] decision to prevent both local government and businesses from employing the technology appears to be the most sweeping ban yet by an individual city.”

What’s the technology good for? Well, it “could help with tasks ranging from solving crime to checking student attendance at school.” But it “comes with fundamental privacy issues.”

In addition to the cops, “private entities in places of public accommodation” are now barred from using it as well.

That means businesses that serve the public — restaurants, grocery stores, etc.

Outside of that, as per CNN, “[the policy] does not prevent individuals from setting up facial-recognition technology at home, such as a Google Nest camera that can spot familiar faces, or gadgets that use facial-recognition software for authenticating users, like Apple’s Face ID feature for unlocking an iPhone.”

That’s good — anti-capitalist protestors can still use their iPhones.

Here’s more from the rule — which pauses to point out that American Indians have been over-surveilled — courtesy of The Daily Wire:

Face Recognition means the automated searching for a reference image in an image repository by comparing the facial features of a probe image with the features of images contained in an image repository (one-to-many search). A Face Recognition search will typically result in one or more most likely candidates—or candidate images—ranked by computer-evaluated similarity or will return a negative result … Black, Indigenous and People of Color communities have been subject to over surveillance and disparate and detrimental impact of the misuse of surveillance.


In addition, while the town is engulfed in anarchy, Portland’s Powers That Be made sure to let everyone know it’s a cozy place to visit:

“The City of Portland must be a welcoming city, a sanctuary city, and an inclusive city for all, including residents and visitors.”

I have some videos they can use to promote tourism (Viewer Discretion Advised):


In a statement, Mayor Ted Wheeler said he wants to make sure the rioters can’t be victimized:

“Technology exists to make our lives easier, not for public and private entities to use as a weapon against the very citizens they serve and accommodate.”

ACLU of Oregon Interim Executive Director Jann Carson loved the idea — it might protect people from the city’s out-of-control officers:

“Portland Police for months have been gassing, beating, and violently attacking the people of Portland to suppress their demands for racial justice. With today’s vote, the community made clear we hold the real power in this city. We will not let Portland turn into a surveillance state where police and corporations alike can track us wherever we go.”

Jann believes it’s a win for everyone — except, she specified, maybe white males:

“Face surveillance is an invasive threat to our privacy, especially to Black people, Indigenous people, people of color, and women, who frequently are misidentified by the technology. We appreciate Commissioner Hardesty’s leadership and applaud Portland for banning the government and corporate use of facial recognition technology.”

As for “demands for racial justice,” Jann didn’t make clear how threatening, taunting, and frightening citizens mixed with blocking streets and starting fires as well as stealing and destroying innocent people’s property relates to fighting discrimination.


Perhaps she thought it was obvious.

Either way, as observed by the Wire, Jann’s not known for pointing fingers at ninja-outfitted revolutionaries. In fact, speaking to Marie Claire in July, she said a lot of this “They’re doing bad stuff” stuff is baloney. It’s just the scheming popo:

“I am old enough to remember that during the Civil Rights movement, the police had provocateurs…intentionally added to the group to do disruptive stuff. I have no doubt in my mind, I believe with all my heart, that that is what Portland police are doing … I believe Portland Police [Bureau] is lying about the damage — or starting the fires themselves — so that they have justification for attacking community members.”

And in a webinar Wednesday, she doubled down:

“I absolutely believe that it is police action, and they are sending saboteurs and provocateurs into peaceful crowds so that they can justify their inhumane treatment of people who are standing up for their rights.”

Geez — if they’re that sneaky, no wonder she doesn’t want ’em to have facial recognition technology.

And that’s one giant police force.

Maybe the government should use facial recognition to spot all the secret-agent cops.



See more pieces from me:

‘Thuggery’: Trump Pummels Pittsburgh Restaurant Rioters, AKA ‘Biden Voters’

In the War Against Discrimination, TEDxLondon Will Only Speak About ‘Womxn’

Colorado 7th Grader Gets Suspended for Having a Toy Gun in His Own Home


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