California Considering Banning Facial Recognition Devices for Police Software
Twenty-six our of 120 California state senators were flagged as criminals. By mistake. The faces of all of the State's lawmakers were put through a facial recognition device and placed against a database of 25,000 criminal mugshots.
The data pulled 26 lawmakers as criminals--a mistake on the facial recognition device's programming.
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The American Civil Liberties Union of California (ACLU) carried out the test, and shared the information as it sent a ban on facial recognition devices to the state Senate, claiming it gives the wrong information.
The ACLU is asking that facial recognition devices on police be banned.
Perhaps the technology is just not yet up to the task
Facial recognition systems are picking up momentum across the board. We see them being used in airports around the world, at concerts, and now on certain police uniforms.
They work by scanning a person's face, identifying it and running it through its database to see if it matches any criminal records.
However, the ACLU experiment "reinforces the fact that facial recognition software is not ready for prime time - let alone for use in body cameras worn by law enforcement," said Assembly member, Phil Ting.
Ting was one of the 26 faces that matched a mugshot.
Another reason to pass my bill, #AB1215, which bans facial recognition software in police body cameras: @ACLU_CAP test found 26 of 120 state lawmakers were falsely matched with someone in a mugshot database, incl me. Imagine the real world implications. https://t.co/frVa0AwkD5— Phil Ting (@PhilTing) August 13, 2019
Moreover, facial recognition technology sometimes shows bias, especially with women and people of color.
What is the bill?
AB 1215, also known as The Body Camera Accountability Act, is a bill that would ban the use of these facial recognition cameras in police-worn devices.
Currently, no police team in the state of California is wearing these devices. This bill would stop them from ever wearing them, or at least until the technology is fault-proof.
As Ting said "I could see innocent Californians subjected to perpetual police lineups because of false matches. We must not allow this to happen."
It wouldn't be the first state to ban it. Oregon and New Hampshire have already banned the use of this technology by police officers since 2017.
The bill is set to be voted up in the coming weeks, as per the ACLU.