Because the police had falsely identified him as a fugitive using facial recognition software, a man had to be arrested.
A Georgia man spent nearly a week in the prison, after Louisiana police misidentified him as a fugitive using facial recognition software. Randal Reid, 28, was on his way to his mother’s house to celebrate Thanksgiving when local police stopped him and arrested him, local media reported.
Using facial recognition software, the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office (JPSO) identified Reid as a suspect in a series of thefts. They were handbags Chanel and Louis Vuitton $10,000 worth was stolen. The problem? Reid had never been to Louisiana before. Almost a week later, the JPSO reversed the warrant and released Reid.
Most silent place in the world: Here you can hear your blood flow
“They didn’t even try to make the correct identification”
However, it would have been easy for the officials to detect the error earlier. Because Reid looked nothing like the man from the surveillance video. There was a weight difference of 40 pounds and Reid also has one birthmark on the face—something completely absent from the Louisiana pictures. This fact ultimately led to his release. Reid is black, and his arrest brings renewed attention to the use of a technology that critics say leads to higher rates of misidentification among blacks than whites.
facial recognition software works by matching real-time images with a previous photo of a person. Every face has around 80 unique nodes on the eyes, nose, cheeks and mouth that distinguish one person from another. A digital video camera measures the distance between different points on the human face, such as the width of the nose, the depth of the eye sockets, the distance between the eyes and the shape of the jawline. This results in a unique numeric code, which can then be linked to a matching code from a previous photo.
Facial recognition systems have come under criticism for enabling mass surveillance that raises privacy concerns, and because some studies have shown that the technology misidentifies blacks and others of color far more often than whites, leading to false arrests. The research comes against the background of the widespread use of facial recognition technologies in law enforcement, airports, banking, retail and smartphones. According to Jay Stanley of the American Civil Liberties Union, mistakes could result in “arresting the wrong people” and conducting “lengthy interrogations”. A 2019 study by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) found that two algorithms misassigned black women 35 percent of the time. Activists and researchers have claimed that the potential for error is too great and that mistakes could lead to innocent people being imprisoned.
Originating in the 1960s
While facial recognition technology dates back to the 1960s, its use by law enforcement agencies remains at the center of current debate. In July, the New Orleans City Council voted to allow police to use facial recognition after several people complained about privacy issues. Police can use facial recognition to identify violent crime suspects after all other tactics have failed.
According to AP News, the New Orleans Police Department can now only use facial recognition to investigate leads, and department officials must approve requests. They also report that potential facial recognition hits need to be verified by other investigators.
HIV-positive – student excluded from university
Americans for it
What does the public think of the use of facial recognition software in the criminal justice system? According to a 2022 study by the Pew Research Center, most Americans support the widespread use of facial recognition software by police. Unsurprisingly, however, Black and Hispanic Americans are most concerned about disproportionate neighborhood surveillance and false arrests.