Facial recognition software is becoming increasingly used in our daily lives. Facebook uses it to tag us in photos, Apple uses it to unlock our phones -and police use it to identify criminals. But how the police use facial recognition software is a major concern for civil rights groups, privacy advocates and defense lawyers in Fallbrook, California and those all the way in Portland, Maine.
Facial Recognition Software in the Limelight
Police use of facial recognition software became major news after the shooting at the Capital Gazette newsroom in Annapolis, Maryland. When the suspect refused to submit to fingerprinting, police used facial recognition to identify him. Just like when police used DNA ancestry sites to catch the Golden State Killer, few people were against this use of technology by the police, but it does raise major concerns about how it will be used in the future and how the public’s rights will be protected.
National Identity Databases?
Just because a technology exists, doesn’t mean the police should have unrestricted access to it, especially when that technology is as prone to error as facial recognition software. While most people, even most San Marcos criminal attorneys don’t have a real issue allowing police to use fingerprints, DNA or facial scans of people who have already been convicted of a crime, most people also are against the police having a database that can scan the identities of all people in the U.S. (even those who have not committed crimes). Unlike DNA and fingerprints though, it would be all too easy for a company like Microsoft to create a national database of people’s faces based on public photos posted on the web and to provide the police access to such a database.
This is not only a major nightmare for privacy advocates, but a major danger for civil liberties in general -especially given how inaccurate facial recognition software is. If this were made into a reality, it would be all too easy for police to connect completely innocent people to crimes based on nothing but a facial scan. And with just a tiny bit of additional evidence, the burden would be put on the suspect and his Escondido criminal defense attorney to prove his innocence, something that is absolutely not constitutional.
A national database would be also further strain race relations between the police and minorities, given that facial recognition software is even more inaccurate when it comes to identifying non-white persons.
Current Police Use of Facial Recognition
As it stands right now, police use of facial recognition software might not be widely used, but it is also very unregulated, particularly when it comes to the databases the software uses to identify potential suspects.
If you have any questions about facial recognition software or other privacy concerns regarding the police, please contact a Rancho Bernardo criminal lawyer. You can schedule a free initial consultation with Peter M. Liss by calling (760) 643-4050.