San Francisco's local government has voted to ban facial recognition software.

The city has become the first in the US to outlaw the rapidly-developing technology that causes concern for privacy and civil liberties advocates.

The ban applies to San Francisco police and other municipal departments, but airports and ports, nor does it limit personal or business use.

The ban comes alongside wider legislation requiring city departments to establish use policies and obtain board approval for all surveillance technology.

“This is really about saying; ‘We can have security without being a security state. We can have good policing without being a police state’, and part of that is building trust with the community based on good community information, not on Big Brother technology,” said supervisor (councillor) Aaron Peskin.

The advocates concede that there are many valid reasons for such software, such as licence-plate readers, body cameras and security cameras. However, they the public should know how the tools are being used or abused.

The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation issued a statement slamming San Francisco, saying the technology makes it cheaper and faster for police to find suspects and identify missing people.

Critics are concerned about looming development in the tech security industry, such as China’s ‘Social Credit’ system.