Monday, December 27, 2004

Facial Recognition Software in LAPD Use


Facial Recognition Software in LAPD Use. We first saw public use of facial recognition software in a well publicized and ineffective scanning of faces attending the Super Bowl two years ago. And now it's resurfaced on a smaller scale, in use by the LAPD for rousting teenagers on bicycles. Once again, this is being pushed by the company offering software for free "Field Use" by the Los Angeles Police Department.

When it comes down to privacy issues, this just feels wrong in the context of civil liberties abuses. The wired news story linked at the top of this post does claim that the software was ultimately successful at catching a gang member who had outstanding arrest warrants. But how do we come up with a Miranda warning for facial scans? "You have the right to cover your face so this facial scan won't work" doesn't seem appropriate.

Arrests made solely upon positive matches of facial recognition software will no doubt be tested in court and refined to a point where those scans may become commonplace and accepted. Until the day someone is stopped for a traffic infraction, facial scanned by the traffic officer and wrongly arrested because he's a double for some bad guy in the police database. He's required to undergo DNA testing and now is in police databases as having been arrested. Will all of that be removed from databases when he's exonerated later? DNA sample deleted? Facial scan deleted?

If facial recognition technology could be foolproof and successfully eliminate error from big brother uses, all to the good. But it's not foolproof and will result in false positives with facial recognition turning up a lot of lookalikes. Now it will become dangerous just to look like a criminal.

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posted by RealitySEO at 4:27 PM

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