Bernie Sanders on facial recognition

Facial recognition might be destroying our privacy in the future if it is not already. As we have mentioned in our recent blog post, Amazon’s Ring is to partner with the US police departments in order to request footage of importance to them.

Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont calls for a full ban on law enforcement use of facial recognition as part of the new criminal justice reform plan he launched this weekend. While other politicians and presidential candidates also voiced concerns about software for facial recognition and how it was used, Sanders is the first to specifically call for a ban. He published on his website his ideas on facial recognition and on criminal justice as a whole.

Last year, in a letter to the FTC expressing concern about the technology, candidates Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) joined others. The senators said they were worried about the mounting proof in that letter that these techniques could perpetuate gender, ethnic, age, and other biases. As a result, their use may violate the laws of civil rights and may be unfair and misleading, “reads the letter.

The letter specifically points to MIT studies showing that algorithms for facial recognition are 30 percent more probable to misidentify dark-skinned woman than lighter-skinned men. It also referenced an ACLU experiment in which 28 members of Congress were incorrectly identified as persons with previous arrests, disproportionately members of African American and Latino. Sander’s criminal justice reform plan, also calls for a ban on for-profit prisons as well as removes the ability of law enforcement agencies to benefit from forfeitures of civil assets.

A digital rights group, Fight for the Future, called for a ban on the use of facial recognition software last month. The group said in its campaign that “Facial recognition surveillance technology is unreliable, biased, and a threat to basic rights and safety. ” Reports have shown that 98 percent of facial recognition programs identify the incorrect individual. The group warns that an inaccurate identity could possibly result in someone being identified and accused of a crime they have not committed.

San Francisco and Massachusetts, Sommerville, have prohibited police and government organizations from using facial recognition.

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