Cancel the “facial recognition” Briefcam trial
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Lisa Scaffidi, John Carey and CEO of Perth - there was never, at any point prior to any of your elected terms by the residents of Perth and surrounding suburbs, a request or approval by us, the citizens of Perth to use our tax payer dollars to fund “facial recognition technology” - that will track our face, gender, race and even the colour of our clothes for the entire period we’re in your district.
The propensity for facial recognition technology (which encompasses the mining of our biometric data, as unique as our DNA) to endanger civil rights and civil liberties substantially outweighs its apparent benefits, and the technology will exacerbate racial injustice and threaten our ability to live free of continuous government monitoring.
We demand - as your constituents - that you take a stand, alongside the city of Perth, against the collection, utilisation and sale of our very autonomy as individuals.
China has proven this technology is ripe for abuse, using algorithms to label people based on race or ethnicity, impinge on their individual freedoms, strike fear into peaceful protestors, then isolate and restrict the travel and freedoms of any persons not 100% in agreeance with government Propaganda (at best) - and this is when the technology is working. It has been shown to be inaccurate 34.7% of the time for dark skinned women, which opens the door to a multitude of consequences for women and people of colour who are in accurately identified and tracked.
Consultation with the city and Australia in general has also been a farce. In 2015 the Australian Government announced a national facial recognition system -the National Facial Biometric Matching Capability or simply ‘The Capability’- would be implemented. This occurred with absolutely no public consultation or public announcement at the time.
There is no empirical evidence that supports the assertion that blanket surveillance is effective at preventing serious crime and terrorism either domestically or internationally - in fact if anything, these approaches almost always erode rights and diminish freedoms.
Security of our data is also a major concern. At a time when Australia’s federal government is consistently failing to protect centralised, interconnected databases (My Health Record, National Census, Centrelink to list just a few), it is extremely worrying to watch as we are sleep-walking into a world where our cities are becoming vulnerable, and ultimately so are we as individuals, to all types of security threats including breaches, leaks and hacking as well.
We, the people of Perth, and our rights in the Land of the Young and “Free” are NOT for sale, and demand that the city of Perth - alongside Sydney and other international cities such as New York and Amsterdam - protect its residents against this rising abuse riddled technology: in 2018, the Cities for Digital Rights initiative was launched by the three major cities of Barcelona, Amsterdam and New York City with the support of the United Nations Human Settlements Program, with an aim to protect, promote and monitor residents’ and visitors’ digital rights. Many more local government authorities around the world have since adopted this declaration, including the City of Sydney, with others such as the City of San Francisco recently moving to ban all use of facial recognition software.
1) We demand the city of Perth sign up to the important “Cities for digital rights” initiative and commit fully to all of the protections and commitments outlined within.
2) We also demand that this technology be removed from our city immediately and that facial recognition technology as defined above is banned in this city, with Perth instead committing to engaging the community in real evidence based methods of crime control, such as increasing police presence in any areas of concern, and consulting with community groups as to their wants and needs - methods proven to reduce crime and boost community morale and cohesion.
We, the undersigned also pledge to:
- VOTE yourselves and any supporting politicians out of your seat in the next election, no matter the relevant party should these demands not be met
- Engage in litigation if required against the city of Perth for impinging on our basics freedoms, rights and dignities
- take any and all business to any town or venue outside the Perth CBD, you will not have our ADDITIONAL funding to support this measure, or in any city where this technology is implemented. We also will not allow this technology to effect our kids whose movements and autonomy you have no right to track, utilise and sell without our explicit permission
- demand that OUR TAX PAYER FUNDED DOLLARS are put to the uses that we VOTED for: jobs, climate change, health care, education and protection of the vulnerable within our society,
- will protest using any and all means necessary until the facial recognition technology is removed from our home city.
We demand that you to heed the concerns outlined in this petition, and demand (just like the city of San Francisco USA, where the city is banning facial recognition technology) that our voted for politicians take a stand against this intrusive and abuse-riddled technology and the make Perth and WA a “Facial recognition free” zone.
The people of Perth, and their children, are not for sale.
*Follow “What can I do: THIS” for updates: as we will be engaging with all levels of politics involved and will be calling on all signees to also sign paper petitions available shortly in the city of Perth.
And when you call or write to Lisa Scaffidi, John Carey, the CEO or anyone on the Perth Council and they decide to reply with non-answers such as that “horse has bolted” regarding the Briefcam trial, just read them back the definition of “trial” period, being a:
test (something, especially a new product) to assess its SUITABILITY or performance.
The people of Perth have determined: this is not in any way, shape or form “SUITABLE”. Bin it, now. You are authorised to make changes to our city as a privilege given to you by us, for our wants and needs. Do not abuse it,
Please share this petition far and wide, stay updated at the Facebook page “What can I do: THIS” to find out where you can go to sign our paper petitions, and call/ email your MP’s to express your concerns, attend city planning sessions, and join us in telling them: we do not consent.
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