SAN FRANCISCO – On Wednesday, June 1, at 5 p.m. PT, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) will testify against the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) at the city’s Sunshine Ordinance Task Force meeting. EFF filed a complaint against the SFPD for withholding records about a controversial investigation involving the use of facial recognition.

In September 2020, SFPD arrested a man who was suspected of illegally discharging a gun, and a San Francisco Chronicle report raised concerns that the arrest came after a local fusion center ran the man’s photo through a face-recognition database. The report called into question SFPD’s role in the search, particularly because the city’s Surveillance Technology Ordinance, enacted in 2019, made San Francisco the first city in the country to ban government use of face-recognition technology.

EFF filed a public records request with the SFPD in December 2020 about the investigation and the arrest, but the department released only previously available public statements. EFF filed a complaint with the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force for SFPD’s misleading records’ release, after which SFPD produced about 20 pages of relevant documents.

At Wednesday’s hearing, EFF Director of Investigations Dave Maass will ask the task force to uphold EFF’s complaint about the SFPD, arguing that San Francisco’s transparency policies won’t work well unless public agencies are held to account when trying to skirt their responsibilities.

San Francisco Sunshine Ordinance Task Force hearing

Dave Maass
EFF Director of Investigations

Wednesday, June 1
5:00 pm PT

Password: sunshine

For EFF’s original public records demand to SFPD:

For EFF’s complaint to the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force:

For more information on the hearing:



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