Police Department Withheld Documents About Use of Facial Recognition

San Francisco – On Tuesday, June 15, at 5:30 pm PT, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) will testify against the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) at the city’s Sunshine Ordinance Task Force committee meeting. EFF has registered a complaint against the SFPD for withholding records about a controversial investigation involving the use of facial recognition.

In September of last year, SFPD arrested a man suspected of illegally discharging a gun, and a report in the San Francisco Chronicle raised concerns that the arrest came after a local fusion center ran the man’s photo through a facial-recognition database. The report called into question SFPD’s role in the search, particularly because the city’s Surveillance Technology Ordinance, enacted in 2019, made San Francisco the first city in the country to ban government use of face recognition technology.

EFF filed a public records request with the SFPD about the investigation and the arrest, but the department released only previously available public statements. EFF filed a complaint with the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force for SFPD’s misleading records’ release, after which point SFPD produced many more relevant document.

At Tuesday’s hearing, EFF Investigative Researcher Beryl Lipton will ask the task force to uphold EFF’s complaint about the SFPD, arguing that San Francisco’s transparency policies won’t work well unless public agencies are held to account when trying to skirt their responsibilities.

WHAT:
San Francisco Sunshine Ordinance Task Force hearing

WHO:
Beryl Lipton
EFF Investigative Researcher

WHEN:
Tuesday, June 15
5:30 pm

LISTEN/CALL IN LINE:
1-415-906-4659
Meeting ID: 100 327 123#

For more information on the hearing:
https://sfgov.org/sunshine/sites/default/files/complaint_061521_agenda.pdf

Contact: 
Saira
Hussain
Staff Attorney
Beryl
Lipton
Investigative Researcher

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Author Of this post: Rebecca Jeschke

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