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Some US Cities Are Moving Into Real-Time Facial Surveillance

New research by Georgetown researchers suggests that privacy advocates and other people worried about the proliferation of mass surveillance systems should not merely worry about China’s efforts to sell its model of the surveillance state around the world, because some US cities seem on their way to deploy real-time facial recognition surveillance technology as well.

Chicago and Detroit have already purchased such systems from South Carolina firm DataWorks Plus, and although neither city is using it at present, they would be legally permitted to do so at any time since the use of this technology is not prohibited under federal or state laws. If no federal legislation will be established to govern the use of facial surveillance, a state-based legal patchwork might emerge. Earlier this week, San Francisco supervisors voted to ban the use of facial recognition in the city.

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