Last week the Minneapolis City Council voted to ban the City’s use of facial recognition technology — a huge victory for privacy and the Fourth Amendment. And now that the deadline has passed for the Mayor to veto the ordinance, the ordinance is officially law. A big thank you goes to Council Member Steve Fletcher, the other members of the POSTME coalition, and all of the organizations who signed our open letter and raised awareness of our efforts.
This is RT4-MN’s first major legislative win, and I wanted to take some time to reflect. It’s been over a year since I initially approached the ACLU of Minnesota with the idea of pushing for a CCOPS ordinance in Minneapolis. And while the strategic decision was made to narrow our focus to facial recognition technology, I have not given up on the original goal of passing a CCOPS ordinance in the city. The incredible outpouring of community support for our ordinance shows that the people in Minnesota want to bring comprehensive community control, oversight, and transparency to government surveillance.
Now that Minneapolis has banned face recognition technology, the largest city in Minnesota has taken action to protect its people. But the City of Minneapolis can only do so much. The city cannot tell Hennepin County to stop using invasive technology, nor can it stop statewide agencies. That’s why our next step is to take our cause to the State Legislature. And we hope you will join us in urging lawmakers to step up and take action.
Since the Minnesota Chapter’s revitalization in late 2019, much of the national conversation around surveillance and policing has changed – and hopefully after this victory in Minneapolis, things will continue to change for the better.
However, two facts have not changed:
1) The surveillance state is strong and continues to grow stronger.
2) We are going to keep standing up for Minnesotans’ right to privacy, enumerated in the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution.
Some may seek to diminish this right, but together we will restore it.
Co-Chair, Restore the Fourth Minnesota