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Police Departments Adopting Facial Recognition Tech Amid Allegations of Wrongful Arrests


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Robert Williams was arrested at his Farmington Hills, MI, home after a facial recogniton mis-identified him as having robbed a store in Detroit two years previously.

U.S. police departments continue to adopt facial recognition technology despite continuing complaints of wrongful arrests as a result of its use.

Credit: CBS News

U.S. police departments are adopting facial recognition technology, despite complaints of wrongful arrests as a result of its use.

Clare Garvie at Georgetown University Law's Center on Privacy and Technology thinks facial recognition has been involved in hundreds of thousands of such cases, in which users incorrectly assume the technology is faultless, given the mathematical basis of its matches.

The U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology's Patrick Grother evaluates prototype facial recognition algorithms, and his team published a landmark study which determined that many facial recognition algorithms found it difficult to distinguish between Black, Asian, and female faces.

Grother said false negatives arising from such errors could lead to wrongful arrests.

Since last summer, three Black men have sued for wrongful arrest involving facial recognition; said Garvie, “The fact that we only know of three misidentifications is more a product of how little we know about the technology than how accurate it is."

From 60 Minutes
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