Last year, communities banded together to prove that they can--and will--defend their privacy rights. As part of ACLU-led campaigns, three California cities--San Francisco, Berkeley, and Oakland--as well as three Massachusetts municipalities--Somerville, Northhampton, and Brookline--banned the government's use of face recognition from their communities. Following another ACLU effort, the state of California blocked police body cam use of the technology, forcing San Diego's police department to shutter its massive face surveillance flop. And in New York City, tenants successfully fended off their landlord's efforts to install face surveillance. Even the private sector demonstrated it had a responsibility to act in the face of the growing threat of face surveillance.
Many of California's local law enforcement agencies have access to facial recognition software for identifying suspects who appear in crime scene footage, documents obtained through public records requests show. Three California counties also have the capability to run facial recognition searches on each others' mug shot databases, and others could join if they choose to opt into a network maintained by a private law enforcement software company. The network is called California Facial Recognition Interconnect, and it's a service offered by DataWorks Plus, a Greenville, South Carolina–based company with law enforcement contracts in Los Angeles, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, and Santa Barbara. Currently, the three adjacent counties of Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Bernardino are able to run facial recognition against mug shots in each other's databases. That means these police departments have access to about 11.7 million mug shots of people who have previously been arrested, a majority of which come from the Los Angeles system.
An image from the product page of Amazon's Rekognition service, which provides image and video facial and item recognition and analysis. SAN FRANCISCO – Two years ago, Amazon built a facial and image recognition product that allows customers to cheaply and quickly search a database of images and look for matches. One of the groups it targeted as potential users of this service was law enforcement. At least two signed on: the Washington County Sheriff's Office outside of Portland, Ore., and the Orlando Police Department in Florida. Now the ACLU and civil rights groups are demanding that Amazon stop selling the software tool, called Rekognition, to police and other government entities because they fear it could be used to unfairly target protesters, immigrants and any person just going about their daily business.
We'll be talking about everyone's favorite topic at the moment: facial recognition. First San Francisco, Somerville ... now Oakland: California's Oakland has become the third US city to ban its local government using facial recognition technology, after its council passed an ordinance this week. Council member Rebecca Kaplan submitted the ordinance for city officials to consider earlier this year in June. The document describes the shortcomings of the technology and why it should be banned. "The City of Oakland should reject the use of this flawed technology on the following basis: 1) systems rely on biased datasets with high levels of inaccuracy; 2) a lack of standards around the use and sharing of this technology; 3) the invasive nature of the technology; 4) and the potential abuses of data by our government that could lead to persecution of minority groups," according to the ordinance.
See how Apple's new facial recognition system works in real life. A conductive model of a finger, used to spoof a fingerprint ID system. Created by Prof. Anil Jain, a professor of computer science at Michigan State University and expert on biometric technology. SAN FRANCISCO -- Your shiny new smartphone may unlock with only your thumbprint, eye or face. The FBI is struggling to gain access to the iPhone of Texas church gunman Devin Kelley, who killed 25 people in a shooting rampage.