John Mack - Newtown Supervisor
Facial Recognition Software is Inherently Racially Biased

Facial Recognition Software is Inherently Racially Biased

Is facial recognition technology coming to a police department near you?

Thanks to Aamir Nayeem for notifying me and the Newtown Township Human Relations Commission about the intended approval by the Bucks County Commissioners of a $25,995 contract with facial recognition technology company Clearview AI to provide assistive technology for law enforcement.

"A simple Google News search for Clearview AI reveals numerous issues with the tool at every turn," says Mr. Nayeem. "Nearly 70 immigrant rights, civil liberties and privacy groups are currently calling on the Department of Homeland Security to 'immediately stop' using [facial recognition] technology (source) amid massive privacy concerns and accusations of racial bias with the software, leading to wrongful arrests."

From an article last year:

Late last month, Detroit Police Chief James Craig suggested the technology the department uses, which was created by DataWorks Plus, isn't always reliable. "If we were just to use the technology by itself, to identify someone, I would say 96 percent of the time it would misidentify," he said in a public meeting, according to Motherboard. From the start of the year through June 22nd, the force used the software 70 times per the department's public data. In all but two of those cases, the person whose image the technology analyzed was Black. 

The Bucks County Commissioners will meet at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, April 21, 2021, at the Bucks County Administration Building, 55 E. Court St., Doylestown. The meeting will be live-streamed on the Bucks County Government Facebook page and archived there for later viewing.The approval is one of the first items on Wednesday's agenda. According to the Bucks County government website's instructions for public access, one can attend the meeting and comment in person, or an email can be sent "on April 21, 2021 between 10:30 and 10:35 am." 

There is a documentary on Netflix ("Coded Bias") on how this kind of software incorporates the prejudices of the white majority - research has shown that facial recognition is very bad at correctly identifying people of color and it's not just because of the color of their skin!

If the use of this technology by the Newtown Township Police Department came up for a vote by Supervisors, I would oppose it!

Posted on 20 Apr 2021, 10:14 - Category: Police

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