Police use of facial recognition raises concerns about racial profiling


A 2016 report, "The Perpetual Lineup", from the Center for Privacy and Technology at Georgetown University's law school based on records from dozens of US police departments found that African-Americans are more likely to have their images captured, analysed, and reviewed during computerised searches for crime suspects than members of other races. Because African-Americans are more likely to be arrested and have their mug shots taken, and because police criminal databases are rarely updated to remove the images collected from innocent people, the expansion of these systems has had a disproportionate impact on them. Some of these databases also include images taken from driver's licence registration databases and, in a pilot programme, police were allowed to search the State Department's passport and visa databases. The Government Accountability Office estimated that the FBI has been able to access 412 million facial images for searches, some of which are duplicates. A coalition of civil rights groups including the ACLU called for an investigation into the use and abuse of this technology and its potential to chill African-Americans' rights to free speech and assembly. 


Writer: Craig Timberg
Publication: Wall Street Journal
Publication date: 2016-10-18

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