ACLU Statement on Unanimous Vote to Advance San Francisco Surveillance Oversight Law and Facial Recognition Ban

Media Contact:, (415) 621-2493

Article Media

SAN FRANCISCO — Today, the San Francisco Rules Committee unanimously voted to advance the Stop Secret Surveillance ordinance, a bill that requires that there be public notice, clear use policies, and a vote by the Board of Supervisors before a city department can acquire surveillance technology. The ordinance also prevents city departments from using face surveillance technology.

The ordinance will now go to the full Board of Supervisors on May 14th. The legislation is supported by a diverse coalition of 25 local and national privacy, racial justice, and civil rights groups, and currently has 5 cosponsors on the Board of Supervisors.

In response to today’s committee vote, Matt Cagle, Technology and Civil Liberties Attorney at the ACLU of Northern California, issued the following statement:

“The ACLU applauds the Rules Committee for passing this ordinance and urges the full Board of Supervisors to do the same. Democratic oversight of surveillance technology promotes public safety and protects our civil rights. With this law, San Francisco can demonstrate real tech leadership by giving our communities a seat at the table, and the power to create safeguards to prevent misuse.”

The rules committee vote follows recent polling data showing that more than three quarters of people who are likely to vote in the Bay Area and in California in 2020 elections support laws that require public debate and a vote by lawmakers before law enforcement or any other government agency obtains surveillance technology.

The polling results also demonstrate that voters strongly believe that the government should not be able to monitor and track people using their face or other biometric information.

Main Article Content