In 2019, San Francisco passed a landmark ordinance regulating government surveillance and became the first of several cities to start mounting guardrails against government abuse of technologies like facial recognition. It’s now the first to face a challenge from within City Hall.
This month, as part of a broader crackdown on crime, San Francisco Mayor London Breed proposed a ballot measure for the June election that would carve out broad exceptions to the original ordinance and allow police to use real-time surveillance footage in certain situations without first seeking public approval. Almost immediately, five city lawmakers who supported the original more restrictive legislation mounted a counter-proposal, advancing their own ballot measure that would affirm its protections. In a statement, Breed said she’ll attempt to work with the city’s Board of Supervisors to pass legislation there, as a potential alternative to the ballot initiative.