The San Francisco Chronicle posted an article today about facial recognition technology. The technology was developed by Amazon.
The article reports:
San Francisco Assemblyman Phil Ting has never been arrested, but facial recognition technology developed by Amazon links his image to a jailhouse mugshot.
Ting is one of 26 state legislators who were wrongly identified as suspected criminals using the technology, according to results of a test released Tuesday by the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California.
Matt Cagle, a technology and civil liberties attorney at the ACLU, said the organization ran its experiment using Amazon’s Rekognition software and screened 120 lawmakers’ images against a database of 25,000 mugshots.
The article concludes:
More than half the 26 California lawmakers who were falsely identified in the ACLU’s experiment are people of color, Ting’s office said. Ting said that makes the technology especially dangerous for African Americans, Latinos and Asian Americans.
“This could lead to more false arrests in those particular communities,” he said.
Last year, the ACLU ran a similar experiment using images of members of Congress. It found that Amazon’s program incorrectly matched 28 of them with suspected criminals.
I realize that this technology may have some usefulness after it is improved, but there is an important fact that needs to be acknowledged here. In America a person is considered innocent until proven guilty. I am afraid that the use of this technology might shortchange that process. It might be used to recognize a criminal, but I question how it would be used in a court of law.