A missed opportunity to debate facial recognition in CABA
On March 23, and in a narrow decision, the City of Buenos Aires Superior Court of Justice rejected the admissibility of the appeal of unconstitutionality filed by the Association for Civil Rights (ADC) against the law implementing facial recognition in public spaces. From the organization, we express our deepest concern about the refusal to debate the legality of a measure that jeopardizes rights such as privacy, non-discrimination, freedom of expression, assembly, and association.
The procedure of a declaratory judgment is a distinctive instrument in the City of Buenos Aires to promote citizen participation and awareness around issues of major public concern. The rejection of ADC’s action represents, in short, a precious opportunity missed to debate facial recognition, its dangers, and the infringement of rights it poses.
In its decision, the Court majority opinion, composed of judges Santiago Otamendi, Inés M. Weinberg, and Marcela De Langhe, understood that the norms on which the action requested the judicial body’s pronouncement were not identified “with the clarity and precision the appeal of unconstitutionality requires.” On the other hand, they pointed out that the motion did not explain why the objections to the law mentioned “could suffice to represent a rigorous claim with a potential of challenging the enactment”. On the other hand, the Court minority, formed by judges Alicia Ruiz and Luis Lozano, interpreted that “the arguments proposed by ADC aim at questioning the challenged law in the abstract, for considering it contrary to the rights and guarantees it invokes. ” Therefore, they ruled that “the declaratory judgment of unconstitutionality is formally admissible.”
Through the unconstitutionality action filed in 2019, ADC sought a complete ban on the use of facial recognition for surveillance purposes by the City’s security forces.
Despite the setback, ADC will continue to raise any individual case of rights violation due to facial recognition before the City Judiciary. In addition, we will continue striving for the civil and human rights of all citizens.
If you want to download our reports on the subject and learn more about the procedures and risks of facial recognition in public spaces, you can visit our site https://conmicarano.adc.org.ar/