Boston rejects face recognition on basis of potential discrimination - image by Boston Globe.

Boston City Council in the U.S. has voted to ban the use of facial recognition technology by the city.

The ban comes after civil liberties groups highlighted what they described as faults in facial recognition algorithms after NIST found most facial recognition software was more likely to misidentify people of colour than white people.

The Boston ban follows a ban imposed by San Francisco on the use of face recognition technology last year. The ban prevents any city employee using facial recognition or asking a third party to use the technology on its behalf.

Boston’s police department said it had not used the technology over what it called reliability fears, though it’s clear the best systems are reasonably accurate in average working conditions.

Critics also opposed the technology on the basis it might discourage citizens’ rights to protest.

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