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Councilman wants to provide key data before facial recognition camera ban ends

facial recognition camera meeting
Posted at 9:23 PM, Aug 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-15 23:31:07-04

BALTIMORE — Last year, Baltimore City created a bill that temporarily put a ban on facial recognition cameras. That ban will be ending in December.

However, Baltimore Councilman Kristerfer Burnett pushed for a meeting to present all his research on how the city can better use the technology to protect residents.

Burnett said the software can help reduce crime, but it can also misidentify people.

MORE: Facial Recognition Tech Talks continue

That is why the councilman said, before the ban ends, he wants to present all his the research and data.

"There's been a number of national reports that show that there was racial bias in the algorithms in the placement of devices and how the data was being shared that were disproportionately impacting black people, particularly black women," said Burnett.

Councilman Burnett completed extensive research with law students and interviewed people who support the facial recognition in effort to create a well-rounded plan that will benefit everyone.

Burnett said his goal is to present his recommendations to the city council and hopefully come to a happy medium.

"Other jurisdictions, including several efforts at the state, have been using bills or pass bills that either require opt-in recommendation so allowing the public to say, 'Hey, I consent to this, and I'm OK with that,' or we're opting out and saying, 'Hey, I'm not OK with my data being stored or shared or documented anywhere. So that's something that we're looking into," said Burnett.

WMAR 2-News spoke with people in the city, and although some are against the cameras all together.

Others think it could be a good thing.

"If all the kinks were worked out, it would be awesome," said Gardner Chamness. "Having the facial recognition to help prevent crime, and help the police catch people a lot faster, would be extremely beneficial for me, especially because I live in a neighborhood that's not too good at all."

"There's a lot on nonsense going on in Baltimore. I think it would calm it would help calm it down," said Baltimore resident Tony Audrey.

The council will set a follow-up meeting where it will go in detail about the plans for the facial recognition cameras.