“Is Police Facial Recognition a Technological Wild West?”

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Tech News Summary:

  • Some police departments in the US lack clear policies and guidelines for using facial recognition technology (FRT), which has led to innocent people being falsely accused and charged with crimes.
  • Cobb County Police Department in Georgia is one of two agencies currently using FRT, and they have implemented a six-page policy outlining specific steps that specialists must follow when using the system.
  • Concerns have been raised about the contract provider for Cobb County Police Department “scraping” or extracting publicly available images from social media, which could be a violation of website terms of service.

The use of facial recognition technology by police departments across the country has reached a level that many are calling a “Wild West” of technology use. While law enforcement agencies tout the technology as a valuable tool in identifying suspects, critics worry about its accuracy, potential for abuse, and impact on civil liberties.

In recent years, there have been several high-profile cases where facial recognition technology has been used incorrectly. In one instance, the New York Police Department used the technology to try to identify a suspect in a case, but the system mistakenly matched him with someone else, leading to his arrest. In another incident, the Detroit Police Department used facial recognition to identify a suspect in a robbery, but the technology incorrectly matched a suspect who was later found to be innocent.

Many activists and civil rights groups have warned that the use of facial recognition technology by police could lead to discrimination and violate people’s privacy rights. “The technology is so new and untested that there’s really no way to know how accurate it is, or how it will be used,” said the ACLU’s Jennifer Granick.

Despite these concerns, many police departments continue to use facial recognition technology as a key tool in their investigations. In some cases, it has even become a routine part of their work. For example, the Chicago Police Department reportedly uses facial recognition technology to help solve up to 10 cases per day.

As the use of facial recognition technology by police continues to grow, it is clear that the debate over its use will continue. While some believe it is a valuable tool in law enforcement, others worry about its accuracy and impact on civil liberties. As the technology evolves, it will be important for law enforcement agencies to be transparent about its use and address concerns about accuracy and privacy.

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