Tell Port Commissioners to ban facial recognition

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Facial recognition technology is rife with race and gender biases and enables undetectable, persistent government surveillance on a massive scale. Cities across the U.S. are banning facial recognition technology, noting its role in exacerbating the surveillance and policing of Black, Indigenous, and people of color, immigrants, and other communities in the margins.

On March 10, 2020, Port of Seattle Commissioners voted unanimously to collaborate with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in rolling out its facial recognition program at SeaTac International Airport, ignoring the many privacy, civil liberties, and community organizations that urged the Port to reject participation. Urge Commissioners to ban use of facial recognition by Port of Seattle Police and privately contracted security and to reverse the decision to collaborate with CBP.

Message Recipients: Port Commissioners Sam Cho, Stephanie Bowman, Ryan Calkins, Fred Felleman, Peter Steinbrueck.

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Your Message
Dear Commissioner,

I’m writing to you to urge you to ban the use facial recognition by Port of Seattle Police and contractors, and to reverse the decision to collaborate with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to build a face surveillance system at SeaTac International Airport.

Facial recognition technology is rife with race and gender biases and enables undetectable, persistent government surveillance on a massive scale. Cities across the U.S. are banning facial recognition technology, noting its role in exacerbating the surveillance and policing of Black, Indigenous, and people of color, immigrants, and other communities in the margins.

On March 10, 2020, Port Commissioners voted unanimously to collaborate with CBP in rolling out its facial recognition program, ignoring the concerns of many privacy, civil liberties, and community organizations about Port participation in CBP’s unlawful mass collection of biometric data. That vote authorized a $5.7 million Request for Proposal (RFP) to procure and implement a facial recognition system at SeaTac International Airport, funding federal law enforcement efforts and putting local communities at risk.

If the Port of Seattle Commission is truly committed to racial equity, Commissioners should not only vote to extend the moratorium on facial recognition use by the Port of Seattle Police Department, but it should also:

1. Ban all use of facial recognition technology by both the Port of Seattle Police Department and any privately contracted security personnel.

2. Reverse its decision to collaborate with CBP--a sister agency of ICE--to help build and implement its powerful and expensive face surveillance system.

The Port of Seattle Commission should not be paying for or building a facial recognition system for CBP when it has deemed facial recognition a threat to racial equity when used by its own police department.

I strongly urge Commissioners to ban use of facial recognition by Port of Seattle Police and privately contracted security and to reverse the decision to collaborate with CBP.

Sincerely,

[First Name] [Last Name]
[Your Address]

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