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Oregon - Portland Bans Face Recognition Technologies

On September 9, 2020, the Portland City Council enacted an ordinance (Item 704) prohibiting the use of face recognition technologies by private entities in places of public accommodation in the city, which are defined as any place or service offering to the public accommodations, advantages, facilities, or privileges whether in the nature of goods, services, lodgings, amusements, transportation or otherwise. They are not an institution, bona fide club, private residence, or place of accommodation that is in its nature distinctly private.

According to the ordinance’s purpose, face recognition technologies have been shown to falsely identify women and People of Color on a routine basis. However, the prohibition does not apply to use of face recognition technologies:

  • To the extent necessary for a private entity to comply with federal, state, or local laws;
  • For user verification purposes by an individual to access the individual’s own personal or employer issued communication and electronic devices; or
  • In automatic face detection services in social media applications.

The law is effective January 1, 2021.