CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

"A Forensic Without the Science: Face Recognition in U.S. Criminal Investigations"

From the Center on Privacy and Technology at Georgetown Law, via NACDL's news update:

A report released by the Center on Privacy & Technology evaluates the reliability of face recognition as it is used by police in the United States. The report examines the myriad human and machine factors, and their interactions, that might lead to bias and error when law enforcement agencies use face recognition. As a biometric, forensic investigative tool, face recognition may be particularly prone to errors arising from subjective human judgment, cognitive bias, low-quality or manipulated evidence, and under-performing technology. These errors have real-world consequences — the investigation and arrest of an unknown number of innocent people and the deprivation of due process of many, many more. As the grassroots movement to ban police use of face recognition grows, invoking the many overarching ethical problems with this kind of surveillance technology, it is important to point out that face recognition doesn’t work well enough to reliably serve the purposes for which law enforcement agencies themselves want to use it.

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