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TechnologyFacial recognition technology: California lawmakers want to ban it in police body cameras

05:50  14 august  2019
05:50  14 august  2019 Source:   cnn.com

California could become first to limit facial recognition technology; police aren't happy

California could become first to limit facial recognition technology; police aren't happy Police want to use facial recognition software as a tool, but some California lawmakers say such technology represents a threat to privacy.

The ACLU tested Rekognition, Amazon's facial recognition technology , on photographs of California lawmakers . The ACLU is concerned about the potential for facial recognition to track people without their consent. They are also worried that police body cameras , intended to help keep tabs on

Earlier this month, California lawmakers announced they’re considering a statewide ban on facial recognition in police body cams . In a 28-page report, Axon’s ethics board, which was handpicked by members of the Policing Project at New York University School of Law , argued that the technology

A picture of every California state legislator was run through a facial-recognition program that matches facial images to a database of 25,000 criminal mugshots, the American Civil Liberties Union of California (ACLU) said Tuesday in a statement.

Facial recognition technology: California lawmakers want to ban it in police body cameras© David McNew/Getty Images A Los Angeles police officer wears an AXON body camera in 2017.

The program falsely flagged 26 legislators as criminals, the ACLU said.

The ACLU announced the results of its test in pressing for passage of a bill to ban the technology in police body cameras.

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The ACLU tested Rekognition, Amazon's facial recognition technology , on photographs of California lawmakers . The bill also notes that facial recognition in body cameras will impact the rights of people in highly- policed communities and could dissuade undocumented people or those with

The California state Senate is considering legislation that would ban law enforcement's use of facial recognition technology in body cameras . Assembly Bill 1215 would ban the installation and use of facial recognition and biometric scanners statewide in police body cameras , which are widely used

"This 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," Assemblymember Phil Ting, whose photo was flagged as a match to a mugshot, said in the ACLU's statement.

Facial-recognition systems have gained popularity in recent years and are being used at airports, schools, homes and even concerts. The technology can also help a bartender identify who's next in line for a drink. It works by identifying people's faces from videos and photos and then comparing their facial features to those in a database.

But the ACLU is concerned the technology shows bias and is inaccurate, especially with woman and people of color.

Ting, along with the ACLU, co-sponsored AB 1215, also known as The Body Camera Accountability Act. The bill would ban the use of facial recognition and any biometric surveillance system in police-worn body cameras. Currently, there are no cities in California that have that technology in their police body cameras, Ting said Tuesday at a news conference.

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California state lawmakers are already considering a proposal to ban the use of facial identification technology with police body cameras . And a bill before the U.S. Senate would restrict businesses from using the technology on individuals without their permission. But Daniel Castro, vice president

Police say facial recognition is “essential” and “imperative” — a groundbreaking tool that allows them to track down criminals who would otherwise escape justice. Same with a California bill that aims to prohibit facial recognition from being linked to police body cameras .

"I could see innocent Californians subjected to perpetual police lineups because of false matches," said Ting. "We must not allow this to happen."

More than half of the falsely matched lawmakers were people of color, according to the ACLU. Last year, the organization conducted a similar test that misidentified 28 members of Congress. In those results, they found that the program was more inaccurate with woman and people of color.

"Facial recognition-enabled police body cameras would be a disaster for communities and their civil rights, regardless of the technology's accuracy," said Matt Cagle, Technology and Civil Liberties Attorney, ACLU of Northern California.

"Even if this technology was accurate, which it is not, face recognition-enabled body cameras would facilitate massive violations of Californians civil rights."

Others says the technology is a "necessary tool"

Some law enforcement agencies disagree and say the bill would impair the ability of officers.

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She Was Arrested at 14. Then Her Photo Went to a Facial Recognition Database. The New York Police Department has been loading thousands of arrest photos of children and teenagers into a facial recognition database despite evidence the technology has a higher risk of false matches in younger faces. © Sarah Blesener for The New York TimesFor about four years, internal records show, the department has used the technology to compare crime scene images with its collection of juvenile mug shots, the photos that are taken at an arrest. Most of the photos are of teenagers, largely 13 to 16 years old, but children as young as 11 have been included.

State Senate vote expected in weeks; California would be first state to ban the technology in police body cameras .

However, in California , privacy boosters may just get a major win -- the state's Senate is considering legislation that could outright ban the use of facial recognition tech in police body cameras . "Much of it that is being used right now is actually not very accurate," said legislation supporter and San

During a Senate committee on pubic safety committee hearing in June, the Riverside Sheriffs' Association said the technology would help provide events that draw massive crowds like Coachella Music and Arts Festival and the Rose Bowl with the best security available.

"By banning this technology, California will be announcing to the nation and world that it doesn't want our law enforcement officers to have the necessary tools they need to properly protect the public and attendees of these events," their sheriffs' association statement reads.

John Mirisch, the mayor of Beverly Hills, echoes those sentiments in a letter he wrote to Ting in June stating his opposition. He said the technology will help manage events that attract high-profile entertainers to the area such as The Golden Globes.

"This technology allows law enforcement agencies to compare images of hundreds of thousands of individuals, which saves time and agency resources," Mirisch writes.

Other states have banned it

If the bill is passed, California will become the largest state to prohibit facial-recognition technology in police-worn body cameras. New Hampshire and Oregon both passed legislation in 2017 to prohibit the practice.

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In California , legislators will mull banning facial recognition in police body cams . Increasingly lawmakers and activists worry that the technology could also lead to mass surveillance, the A state-wide bill banning the technology 's use in police -worn body cameras would mark a significant step

The state of California 's legislature is considering a new bill that would ban the use of facial recognition technology in police body cameras , according to CNBC. The proposal, which has already passed the state Assembly and now awaits a vote from the Senate, would follow in the

This year, San Francisco, long one of the most tech-friendly and tech-savvy cities in the world, and Oakland, California, banned the use of the technology by police and other government departments.

Axon, who makes police worn body-cameras worn by Los Angeles police, also announced this year that facial-recognition systems will not be added to those devices.

AB 1215 was first introduced in February and is set to be voted on in the California Senate in the coming weeks, according to the ACLU, and then would go to the California Assembly in May.

Facial recognition technology: California lawmakers want to ban it in police body cameras© ACLU of Northern California The legislatures that were falsley flagged. One declined to have their photo released.

Facial recognition software mistook 1 in 5 California lawmakers for criminals, says ACLU.
California Assemblyman Phil Ting has never been arrested, but he was recently mistaken for a criminal. He's not surprised. Ting (D-San Francisco), who authored a bill to ban facial recognition software from being used on police body cameras, was one of 26 California legislators who was incorrectly matched with a mug shot in a recent test of a common face-scanning program by the American Civil Liberties Union. About 1 in 5 legislators was erroneously matched to a person who had been arrested when the ACLU used the software to screen their pictures against a database of 25,000 publicly available booking photos.

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