Throughout the summer of 2020, RedTail’s Kate Kaye tracked Portland, OR’s groundbreaking facial recognition ban through her scripted podcast series, Banned in PDX, available on Apple, Spotify and XRAYPod.com.
With police tactics under immense scrutiny in the city, the moment could not have been any more ripe – or raw – for the historic vote on legislation limiting the ability for law enforcement to employ facial recognition in the name of public safety.
But it wasn’t just about law enforcement use. Unlike other bans, Portland’s goes further, prohibiting the controversial tech in privately-owned places accessible to the public. That sparked opposition from business and tech forces throughout the country.
Banned in PDX reveals:
- How Amazon spent thousands of dollars to lobby Portland lawmakers against the legislation (also reported by Kate in OneZero)
- Why a Washington, D.C. think tank with deep connections to tech firms including facial recognition makers Amazon and Microsoft pushed for police use of biometric tech in Portland
- Why local business and tech groups fought Portland’s ban
- Details of facial recognition tech built by former St. Louis police officers and used at a convenience store chain in Portland
- How Portland policymakers crafted the historic ban and why it could lead to more expansive surveillance and biometric tech legislation
- Plus, in Banned in PDX, listeners will hear from Senator Jeff Merkley, a Democrat from Oregon, about why he co-sponsored three federal bills that would restrict use of controversial biometric technologies including facial recognition.