30 Aug ABKLaw BLOG: NYPD Using Facial Recognition Software to Identify Suspects
BLOG from our #ABKLaw Partner Michael Jaccarino, Esq.: NYPD Using Facial Recognition Software to Identify Suspects
On August 16, the police arrested a man after he placed a pair of rice cookers in the subway, sparking terror among many who thought they were bombs. They turned out to be harmless. However, the far more interesting story that was reported following the suspects’ arrest was the manner in which he was identified. He was ID’d through the use of controversial face-scanning technology. In fact, within minutes of the reports about the suspicious devices, members of the NYPD’s Facial Identification Section had identified still frames from subway surveillance video and were comparing them to photographs in a NYPD database. The suspect was identified within 30 minutes, before the bomb squad had even determined the devices were not harmful.
This facial recognition technology has come under scrutiny over its secrecy as well as its accuracy and the manner in which the police department uses it. In fact, San Francisco has already banned the use of the technology by law enforcement. While the use of this technology has been in place for over a decade, recent sophistication in computer vision tools and advancement of artificial intelligence has led to concerns over a potential creepy and dystopian future. In fact, many big-name retailers are already using cameras with facial recognition software to analyze shoppers’ facial expressions as they peruse store shelves. People are getting worried that without regulations barring law enforcement from accessing driver’s license databases, people who have never been arrested could be part of “virtual police lineups.” Efforts have been made to restrict its use but law enforcement is pushing back, arguing that it would be negligent to not use this technology to prevent crimes of arrest criminals.
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