Police departments across the nation are generating leads and making arrests by feeding celebrity photos, CGI renderings, and manipulated images into facial recognition software. Often unbeknownst to the public, law enforcement is identifying suspects based on "all manner of'probe photos,' photos of unknown individuals submitted for search against a police or driver license database," a study published on Thursday by the Georgetown Law Center on Privacy and Technology reported. The new research comes on the heels of a landmark privacy vote on Tuesday in San Francisco, which is now the first US city to ban the use of facial recognition technology by police and government agencies. A recent groundswell of opposition has led to the passage of legislation that aims to protect marginalized communities from spy technology. These systems "threaten to fundamentally change the nature of our public spaces," said Clare Garvie, author of the study and senior associate at the Georgetown Law Center on Privacy and Technology.
In Washington County, Oregon, sheriff's deputies use a mobile app to send photos of suspects to Amazon's cloud computing service. The e-commerce giant's algorithms check those faces against a database of tens of thousands of mugshots, using Amazon's Rekognition image analysis service. Such use of facial recognition by law enforcement is essentially unregulated. But some developers of the technology want to change that. In a blog post Thursday, Amazon asked Congress to put some rules around the use of the technology, echoing a call by Microsoft in December.
One year ago, Craig Federighi opened his eyes, stared into the brand-new iPhone X, and showed the world how he could unlock it with his face. Or, at least, he tried. It took the Apple executive a few attempts and one back-up phone to get the screen to unlock without a fingerprint or a passcode. But then, like magic, he was in. This was Apple's annual fall hardware show, where the company dangles its newest iPhones before the world and sets the tone for consumer products to come.
Last fall, New York governor Andrew Cuomo laid out a sweeping initiative for the bridges and tunnels of New York City. The "transformational plan," which is part of a larger, $100 billion infrastructure effort for the state, aims to "reimagine New York's crossings" for the 21st century and the future -- a future that, in some aspects, looks to be straight out of Minority Report. The plan calls for the installation of cameras equipped with advanced facial recognition technology in an effort to track everyone entering and exiting the city via the extensive network of tunnels and bridges. Those systems would be implemented in the name of increased security against terror threats, but its potential ramifications for privacy and abuse by law enforcement agencies has experts concerned. Cuomo's initial announcement was light on the details of how such a system might work, how it might be implemented and when.
Photographs of nearly half of all U.S. adults--117 million people--are collected in police facial recognition databases across the country with little regulation over how the networks are searched and used, according to a new study. Along with a lack of regulation, critics question the accuracy of facial recognition algorithms. Meanwhile, state, city, and federal facial recognition databases include 48 percent of U.S. adults, said the report from the Center on Privacy & Technology at Georgetown Law. The search of facial recognition databases is largely unregulated, the report said. "A few agencies have instituted meaningful protections to prevent the misuse of the technology," its authors wrote.