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Portland votes for first-ever U.S. ban on corporate use of facial recognition

(Reuters) - Portland on Wednesday voted in favor of the first-ever ban in the United States on private entities, such as restaurants and retail stores, from using facial recognition technology in public places in the city.

Portland’s city council also voted to ban local government bureaus from acquiring or using the controversial surveillance technology. Several U.S. cities, including San Francisco and Oakland, have previously banned government use of facial recognition.

Facial recognition software can identify individuals in photos and videos based on a database of known subjects. The technology has won over businesses and police in the last few years despite objections from those who say it invades people’s privacy and exacerbates racial and gender biases.

The American Civil Liberties Union said it hoped the passage of the legislation in Portland would spur efforts to ban the use of such surveillance technology across the state of Oregon.

Reporting by Jeffrey Dastin in San Francisco and Ismail Shakil in Bengaluru; Editing by Christopher Cushing

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