May 14 (UPI) -- San Francisco's government won't be allowed to use facial-recognition surveillance under a new ordinance, becoming the first city in the nation to ban the technology.
The Board of Supervisors approved the measure 8-1 Tuesday but they must vote on the ordinance once more before it officially passes and goes to Mayor London Breed for a signature.
The city's 53 departments also will need approval from the Board of Supervisors on any new technology that collects or stores someone's data. In addition, they must disclose this type of technology currently used.
"This is really about saying we can have security without being a security state," Supervisor Aaron Peskin, who wrote the legislation, said at the Board of Supervisors meeting. "We can have good policing without being a police state. Part of that is building trust with the community."
In facial-recognition technology, people are identified from live or recorded video feeds as well as still images comparing them with a set of faces that include mugshots.
Federally controlled places, including San Francisco International Airport and the Port of San Francisco, are excluded from the ordinance.
It also doesn't ban businesses or residents from using facial recognition or surveillance, including for their own security
Supervisor Catherine Stefani, who voted against the ordinance, said she believes a complete ban on facial recognition could prevent the city's law enforcement from using a useful crime-solving tool.
"I am not yet convinced, and I still have many outstanding questions," she said. But "that does not undermine what I think is a very well-intentioned piece of legislation."
Stefani also said departments would spend a great deal of time disclosing all their surveillance technology and getting board approval.
The San Francisco Police Department says it doesn't use the technology but estimated it would take between two and four full-time employees to comply with the new ordinance. The department tested it in 2013 and 2017, and might have wanted to use it in the future.
Civil rights groups and the American Civil Liberties Union are concerned about bias and accuracy, including correct detection of people of color and women.
"With this vote, San Francisco has declared that face surveillance technology is incompatible with a healthy democracy and that residents deserve a voice in decisions about high-tech surveillance," Matt Cagle, a technology and civil liberties attorney at the ACLU of Northern California said in a statement obtained by CNN. "We applaud the city for listening to the community, and leading the way forward with this crucial legislation."
Also in the Bay area, the Oakland City Council may vote on a similar measure later this year. And officials in Somerville, Mass., began discussing a similar ban.