(Port of Seattle Photo / Don Wilson)

The Seattle Ports Commission on Tuesday voted to ban the use of biometric technology for surveillance and security purposes by government and law enforcement agencies on all of its properties, including the Downtown Port and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

The carefully worded ban that the port keeps to federal mandates does not include voluntary facial recognition systems such as CLEAR, which enable Sea-Tac passengers to accelerate through airport security using biometric scans. CLEAR is a private, paid service mainly used in airports and stadiums.

The Port of Seattle is the first national port authority to restrict the use of biometric technology for surveillance.

In a statement after the vote, Commissioner Sam Cho said other ports at national level should follow suit.

“Nobody in a port facility should fear that the port or a private tenant is secretly recording or tracking their biometrics …

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