Proposed LPSF resolution in support of SF facial recognition technology ban

In the wake of our resolution condemning the improper police raid on journalist Bryan Carmody, I think it would be appropriate to also recognize a very positive step that SF authorities just took yesterday, namely the Board of Supervisors enacting a ban on local use of a disturbing new form of surveillance technology. (Two supervisors, Hillary Ronen (D9) and Shamann Walton (D10) were absent from the meeting but were co-sponsors of the legislation, while one supervisor, Catherine Stefani (D2) voted against it. Stefani was challenged by LPSF-endorsed candidate John Dennis in the last election.)

  I've drafted some proposed wording, below – please respond soon with any thoughts or suggested modifications. I hope we can likewise turn this around quickly while it is a fresh news item being discussed in the media.

Love & Liberty,

((( starchild )))

"Even if the technology (were) perfect, this is a genie we as a society should want to put back in the bottle, because this is the kind of technology that will inadvertently be used to make every city and state and every country a police state."
– Aaron Peskin

Whereas San Francisco residents and visitors, like all other persons, have the right to be free from unwarranted mass surveillance and spying at the hands of government or other institutions; and

Whereas a survey of San Franciscans has found that a strong majority oppose the use of such technology; and

Whereas the new technology known as "facial recognition" has documented shortcomings including being more prone to error when it comes to accurately recognizing the faces of members of certain minority groups, which could lead to members of those groups being falsely labeled as suspects on a disproportionate basis; and

Whereas even if technological advances eliminate these problems, the technology itself is invasive and poses an unacceptable threat to freedom; and

Whereas facial recognition technology is already being used as a tool of oppression by authoritarian regimes around the world in places such as China; and

Whereas other methods of surveillance such as "Stingray" devices that pretend to act as cellphone towers in order to capture phone users' conversations, biometric finger scans of homeless people using shelters, Automated License Plate Readers that capture information from vehicles driven in public places without any probable cause, and the mass interception and harvesting of phone call and email content, are already being abused by police and other government agencies in the United States,

Therefore be it resolved that the Libertarian Party of San Francisco commends the members of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors who supported the ban police and other local government agencies from using facial recognition technology, namely Supervisors Sandra Lee Fewer, Gordon Mar, Vallie Brown, Matt Haney, Norman Yee, Rafael Mandelman, Hillary Ronen, and Shamann Walton, and in particular Supervisor Aaron Peskin for introducing and championing this important and precedent-setting legislation; and

Be it further resolved that the LPSF urges the Board members and the mayor to strictly monitor and enforce compliance with this measure by the SFPD and other city departments, including its provisions requiring them to submit annual reports on their use of surveillance technology, and requiring public notice and approval of any new surveillance technology equipment before it is purchased, and to impose severe consequences on any officials who violate the policy.

Thanks, Starchild ;-).

With the exception of a complimentary personal note from Mike Acree, I have not seen any responses to this, and it's been over a week since I posted it and requested folks "respond soon". Since no one has offered any objections, suggested modifications, or other thoughts, would the officers please vote so we can publish?

Love & Liberty,

((( starchild )))

The Judge ruled the day before that we needed to have a "Meet and Confer" meeting by phone with them. We didn't realize we had to check the court's calendar at 3PM the day before. But we put our time at the court to good use anyways.

Meeting is scheduled for tomorrow at 3PM.



  I appreciate your reason for hesitation, but timeliness in this case does suggest to me that we should adopt the resolution right away rather than waiting for the June meeting.

  Going forward, one solution could be to allow any LPSF member to vote on items that come up between meetings, not just officers, and have a time window for voting. The idea behind restricting the vote to just the four officers was to enable decisions to be made relatively quickly between meetings when people aren't all sitting there to vote on something immediately, but if that's not happening (as it didn't in this case), then the system isn't working.

  I would therefore consider we discuss amending our bylaws at the next meeting. Here is some draft language for an updated approach that we could use as a starting point (this would be in addition to, not instead of, officers being able to vote on stuff between meetings):

Any LPSF member may introduce a proposal to be voted on by sending an email containing the specific proposed language to the LPSF-activists email list with "PROPOSAL" at the start of the subject line followed by language identifying the proposal (e.g. "PROPOSAL: Resolution in support of SF facial recognition ban"). Starting when such a proposal appears on the list, there will be a 24-hour window for discussion and proposed amendments or alternate language to be submitted. Discussion may continue indefinitely and amendments may be proposed at any time, but any time after this 24-hour window has expired, any member may either second, or object to, one or more versions of the proposal. After another 24 hours have passed (48 hours after the original proposal was posted), the secretary shall announce a vote among any versions of the proposal which have received more seconds than objections, listing the text of each version. Members will then have another 24 hours during which to vote Yes, No, or Abstain on each version, by responding to the secretary's message on the list with their votes. At the end of this period, the chair shall announce which version received the highest percentage of Yes votes, and provided it received at least a majority (more Yes than No votes), that version of the proposal shall be adopted. Any measures passed between meetings may be overturned by majority vote in a subsequent vote of members at any regular meeting. Abstentions shall not be counted when calculating majorities.

  The ready alternatives of course would be to simply limit the number of resolutions we put out, or have them be less timely in many cases when we do put them out, but personally I don't find either of those options appealing as I think we should be trying to do more to get the libertarian message out, not hamstringing ourselves.

  Thoughts, anyone? Objections or proposed modifications to the draft language suggested above?

Love & Liberty,

((( starchild )))

I share your concerns and agree with you. However this is the wave of the
future. I doubt we can have any impact on it.

Starchild:No opinion on the facial recognition resolution but not sure I like your updated approach/revision of the bylaws idea.Votes of items by the Executive Committee should be reserved for emergencies that just can't wait.. There aren't too many of those kind of situations... The Executive Committee voting used to work really well (not just when I was on it but in the years after). Not sure why there is a problem now, but I think expanding the vote to all the Activists on proposals without the benefit of a vigorous discussion at a meeting is going to lead to a a big hot mess down the pike.Françoise

Françoise Fielding, Esq., 820 Stanyan St. #5, San Francisco, CA 94117, 415-386-8643

I regret that I was very slow to respond on this list and I'm not actually sure that the other officers have joined it (I have invited them, though I haven't seen them post). I think we do need a better plan to respond quickly to opportunities like this, but I'm not convinced yet that the proposed bylaws change is the way to do it. I plan on talking with Mimi (LPC Chair) and some of the county chairs to see what best practices we can adopt from other counties.


Joining the list shouldn't be optional for officers. They need to be on top of things and responsive to the membership and they can't do that without being on the list. If that's not important to them, then perhaps they shouldn't be officers.Françoise
Françoise Fielding, Esq., 820 Stanyan St. #5, San Francisco, CA 94117, 415-386-8643

I also note that no minutes of our meetings have been posted on our website since June 9 2018!
Françoise Fielding, Esq., 820 Stanyan St. #5, San Francisco, CA 94117, 415-386-8643

I re-invited the officers and will follow up to make sure they are all on this list.

As for minutes, we have been posting them here but I haven't kept up with them on the site. I knew I was behind on it, but didn't realize I was _this_ far behind. Sorry! I added all I could now, I am missing minutes for the convention (we didn't have a secretary at the time and minutes are scarce, but we do have a recording). For March, Ryder was not able to make the meeting, so I just need to find the minutes I took and then I'll get them up.

That's probably another task that should be handled by the secretary-- posting them to the website, that is. I'll touch base with Ryder to make sure he can do this. I haven't asked him to do this, so certainly won't blame Ryder for that.

Thanks for keeping us honest

Thanks, Nick for responding so quickly.And, yes, the Secretary should be posting them to the website. You shouldn't have to do everything!Françoise
Françoise Fielding, Esq., 820 Stanyan St. #5, San Francisco, CA 94117, 415-386-8643