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Live Facial Recognition Is Spreading Around the World

The surveillance technology can already be found in Argentina, India, and soon the United States – “…While it’s become common for law enforcement, from local police to the federal government, to use facial recognition, it’s often used retrospectively. That means instead of scanning everyone’s face whose face appears in a live video, they analyze an image of a suspect’s face from a crime scene and compare it against a mugshot database, or some other database of face images, to find out who it is. But that reluctance to embrace live facial recognition is changing — it already has changed around the world. We’ve seen that in Surat, India, and Buenos Aires, Argentina, live facial recognition is already here. In Buenos Aires, it has been used to detain nearly 600 people, and not all of them are even real suspects. One man was detained for six days for having the same name as a suspect in a crime, which police mistakenly entered incorrectly into the watch list. That same technology is coming to police body cameras, as I wrote in OneZero [March 5, 2020]. A body camera company in southern California called Wolfcom has started marketing live facial recognition as a feature in its hardware. It’s already being tested in New Mexico. Privacy advocates oppose live facial recognition, especially in body cameras worn by police. “Body cameras were promised to communities as a tool for officer accountability. They should not be twisted into surveillance systems to be used against communities,” the ACLU wrote on Twitter in response to OneZero’s story.

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