San Francisco has become the first city in the USA to ban facial recognition software. The city has said police and other public departments cannot use the software. San Francisco already uses surveillance cameras for reading car number plates and police officers wear body cameras. There is facial recognition at airports. Many officials wanted to introduce facial recognition in the city to increase security. They said facial recognition technology would make it cheaper and faster for police to find crime suspects and identify missing people. An expert on information technology said: "A ban on facial recognition will make [San Francisco] frozen in time with outdated technology."
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There are many opponents of the technology, which is being widely used in other parts of the world. San Francisco official Aaron Peskin called facial recognition a "Big Brother" technology. Big Brother is a character in the book "Nineteen Eighty-Four" by George Orwell. The phrase Big Brother is now used to describe attempts by governments or authorities to increase surveillance and "spy" on citizens. Mr Peskin said: "We can have security without being a security state. We can have good policing without being a police state." He added that: "Part of that is building trust with the community based on good community information, not on Big Brother technology."