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Facial Recognition Fails in California

August 14, 2019
facial recognition

SACRAMENTO, CA – A California Assemblyman, Phil Ting, has never been under arrest, however, he was recently pegged as a criminal. He’s actually not at all surprised by this outcome.

Consequently, Ting (D-San Francisco), developed a bill to ban facial recognition from being utilized on police body cameras. In fact, Ting was one of a total of 26 California legislators who was wrongly connected with a mug shot in a recent test of the current common face-scanning system by the American Civil Liberties Union.

As it turns out about 1 in 5 lawmakers was mistakenly matched to a person who’d already been arrested. This was the disturbing result when the ACLU activated the software to screen their photos against a pool of 25,000 publicly available booking photos.

In a previous experiment performed last year on members of Congress, the software wrongly linked 28 federal legislators with existing mug shots.

For Ting and other lawmakers this is proof that facial identifying software is shaky at best. As a result, they’re urging California law officials to ban police from wearing it while on duty.

“The software clearly is not ready for use in a law enforcement capacity,” Ting said. “These mistakes, we can kind of chuckle at it, but if you get arrested, and it’s on your record, it can be hard to get housing, get a job. It has real impacts.”

Ting’s legislation, Assembly Bill 1215, will be placed on the governor’s desk soon if it manages to get through the Senate. The proposal is endorsed by the ACLU and hopes that its recent experiment will move and persuade legislators to put the technology on the back-burner.

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