The Price of Privacy: a Call for a Blanket Ban on Facial Recognition in the City of St. Louis


Facial recognition technology has quickly become a regular part of our everyday lives—even if we do not always realize it. Numerous cities across the United States have begun to recognize the danger that facial recognition presents for their citizens and have passed legislation that limits or outright bans the use of the technology in certain circumstances. However, others are embracing the use of facial recognition by law enforcement in areas that require heightened security such as airports. The response to the use of facial recognition has varied widely, partly due to the lack of a federal regulatory scheme that would necessitate consistency. This Note argues that while there are potential benefits of facial recognition technology, the potential for misuse or abuse of such technology is too great a cost to individual privacy and expression that is fundamental to a democratic society. The author advocates for the city of St. Louis to ban the use of facial recognition technology by both governmental and private entities. The Note concludes that ultimately, a ban on facial recognition technology is necessary to protect individual privacy, to curtail bias and abuse that is already rampant within our criminal justice system, and to countervail the pervasive impact that surveillance has on a healthy democracy.


Privacy, Facial Recognition, rights, Government, Ban, Democracy, Society, Technology, Expression, St. Louis, City, Law Enforcement, security, Heightened, Legislation



Sylvia Waghorne (Washington University School of Law in St. Louis)



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