A New Jersey man is suing the town of Woodbridge and its police department after he was falsely arrested following an incorrect facial recognition match. Nijeer Parks spent 10 days in jail last year, including a week in "functional solitary confinement," following a shoplifting incident that January. After officers were called to a Hampton Inn in Woodbridge, the alleged shoplifter presented them with a Tennessee driver's license, which they determined was fake. When they attempted to arrest him after spotting what appeared to be a bag of marijuana in his pocket, the man fled in his rental car. One officer said he had to leap out of the way or he would have been hit.
IBM announced this week that it would stop selling its facial recognition technology to customers including police departments. The move prompted calls for other tech firms, like Amazon and Microsoft, to do the same. IBM announced this week that it would stop selling its facial recognition technology to customers including police departments. The move prompted calls for other tech firms, like Amazon and Microsoft, to do the same. IBM will no longer provide facial recognition technology to police departments for mass surveillance and racial profiling, Arvind Krishna, IBM's chief executive, wrote in a letter to Congress.
Microsoft isn't selling facial recognition tech to local police, but it apparently doesn't have that reservation for federal law enforcement. The ACLU has published emails indicating that Microsoft "aggressively" pitched the Drug Enforcement Administration on facial recognition between at least September 2017 and November 2018 (the emails extend to December 2018). The tech firm went so far as to host DEA staff for numerous demos and training sessions, and there was even a pilot program. The Administration apparently declined to buy the technology in November 2018, in part because of public concerns about the FBI's use of facial recognition data. The ACLU sued the DEA and FBI in October 2019 to obtain records showing how they use facial recognition.
Let's say it together: Facial-recognition technology is a dangerous, biased mess. We are reminded of this obvious fact again with the news Friday that an innocent man, despite not looking like the perpetrator at all, was arrested last year after being falsely identified by faulty facial-recognition tech. This is the second known case of facial recognition software directly leading to the arrest of an innocent man. It's something privacy advocates fear will be a growing trend unless drastic action is taken to stop this technology in its tracks. Michael Oliver, then 25, was charged with a felony for supposedly grabbing a phone from a car passenger and throwing it, reports the Detroit Free Press.
A false facial recognition match has led to the arrest of another innocent person. According to the Detroit Free Press, police in the city arrested a man for allegedly reaching into a person's car, taking their phone and throwing it, breaking the case and damaging the screen in the process. Facial recognition flagged Michael Oliver as a possible suspect, and the victim identified him in a photo lineup as the person who damaged their phone. Oliver was charged with a felony count of larceny over the May 2019 incident. He said he didn't commit the crime and the evidence supported his claim.