LAKELAND, Fla. – New security cameras are being installed in downtown Lakeland to make the area safer, but now there are concerns over a controversial feature: facial recognition technology.

Julie Townsend, the Executive Director of the Lakeland Downtown Development Authority (LDDA), told FOX 13 back in January that the 14 cameras would be installed on private property to keep a closer eye on corners and alleyways and to be a deterrent to crime.

The property owners would have access to the cameras as well as law enforcement and the authority’s “Clean and Safe Team” would monitor them in real-time and collect the data for 30 days. But what the LDDA didn’t mentioned at the time was that the cameras would have facial recognition technology.

“This technology used this way to track and identify people in real time is really chilling in a free society,” said Nate Freed Wessler, Deputy Director of ACLU’s Speech Privacy and Technology Project.

Wessler said there has been strong legislative pushback in other cities against this software.

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