San Francisco reverses accidental ban on the iPhone

San Francisco reverses accidental ban on the iPhone
Imagine if the Apple iPhone was banned from a major west coast city in Apple's home state. With all apologies to Alanis, it would be ironic, don't you think? Wired reports (via 9to5Mac) that back in May the city of San Francisco updated its rules against municipal surveillance. Included in these new rules was a ban on the use of facial recognition systems by the city. In fact, much of the facial recognition technology owned by San Francisco was in the pockets of municipal workers who carried iPhones given to them by the city. And since the ban was put into place, these municipal workers were essentially breaking the law whenever they carried an iPhone in their pockets even if Face ID was turned off.

Other cities that are now passing similar laws are being sure to exempt the iPhone from any ban. For example, the city of Brookline, Massachusetts passed a facial recognition ban last week that excludes personal devices. This allows city workers to carry an iPhone with Face ID, and also covers the photo tagging feature on Facebook. Matt Cagle, an attorney at the ACLU of Northern California who is working with cities says, "Each city is going to do it in their own way. There are going to be some devices that have [facial recognition] built-in and they’re trying to figure out how to deal with that."

Last week, San Francisco supervisors amended the law to allow the use in the city of iPhone models sporting Face ID. Municipal agencies in San Francisco are now allowed to purchase Face ID enabled iPhones for employees under certain conditions; other features of the device must be considered "critically necessary," and there must be no "viable alternatives." That doesn't mean that city workers can use Face ID on these devices. Apple iPhones handed out by the city of San Francisco to city employees still must have Face ID disabled forcing users to employ a passcode to unlock their handset.

As more cities start to disallow facial recognition, new laws are going to have to be written in a manner that distinguishes personal devices with facial recognition given to city employees from the use of such technology by police departments and other law enforcement organizations.

In addition to the iPhone X and both the 2018 and 2019 iPhone models, the Pixel 4 series also includes a secure facial recognition system. Those phones would also be included in any ban although we should point out that most cities and municipalities tend to equip their employees with an iPhone.

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9 Comments

1. Derekjeter

Posts: 1577; Member since: Oct 27, 2011

San Francisco will always love Apple. No matter how much trash they put out.

11. shm224

Posts: 317; Member since: Mar 19, 2015

so will Xi.

2. Locked-n-Loaded

Posts: 114; Member since: Sep 13, 2019

San Francisco is full of fake woke overly outraged social justice Warriors. This is why people can poop in the street. This is why you can find needles all over the place. This is why you can find homeless numbers the highest in the nation. That city is so hell-bent on trying to be woke they literally ruin everything they touch and now it's coming back to haunt them on more than one front including technology

4. Joshing4fun

Posts: 1254; Member since: Aug 13, 2010

Ooooooh please tell more....

5. AustinPaul

Posts: 159; Member since: Dec 13, 2011

So true lockednloaded

6. Cat97

Posts: 2026; Member since: Mar 02, 2017

I have visited San Francisco recently and the number of homeless people and generally the two opposed worlds that live there is alarming.

9. tedkord

Posts: 17513; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Still better than Kentucky.

10. Vokilam

Posts: 1449; Member since: Mar 15, 2018

San Francisco is what happens when you let liberals run the town - don’t let that happen to our country.

3. darkkjedii

Posts: 31764; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Damn, that’s an odd one.

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