Facial recognition: data leaks and discrimination, from Sao Paulo to Detroit

Reconnaissance faciale : fuites de données et discrimination, de Sao Paulo à Detroit Cybersecurity

This is one of the revelations brought about by the Black Lives Matter movement. Facial recognition is by no means the miracle technology for carrying out law enforcement on the public highway. And the GAFA backtrack. For a time. Amazon has decided on a one-year moratorium on law enforcement use of its Rekognition facial recognition technology. IBM, for its part, has given up offering this technology to the general public for fear that it will promote racial discrimination. In mid-June, Microsoft officials announced that they too would not be selling facial recognition technology to police until a federal law regulating the use of these tools was passed.

Understand here that Microsoft, Amazon or IBM do not really question the performance of the technology. Legal cover to regulate the practice by the police is simply desired. Except that an incident which occurred in January in the city of Detroit (United States) and made public via a legal complaint last week illustrates the failures of the machine itself as regards the technique of facial recognition.

Robert Williams spent thirty hours in detention because software had deemed the photo of his driver’s license and the image of a watch thief captured by surveillance cameras identical, according to this complaint, reported by AFP. He had been arrested and handcuffed in front of his house, in the presence of his wife and two daughters, ages 2 and 5.

The first documented case of a false positive of this kind of system in production

Troubling? He said that after a night in the cell, officers showed him two blurry photos of a black man. “I took the paper and put it close to my face saying” I hope you don’t think all black men are the same. ” The police looked at each other and one said “the computer must have been wrong”, “he said.

Facial recognition technology has been used for several years by various police services in the United States. Technology accused of being unreliable in identifying minorities. According to an MIT study, the error rate is 35% for black women. But Robert Williams’ misadventure is the first documented case of a false positive of this kind of system in production.

The other issue raised by the implementation of facial recognition systems is better known to IT managers. These are the measures that protect data and privacy.

Beware of impact studies

The company responsible for operating the São Paulo metro is under fire from criticism from a consumer association on this specific point. The association accuses him of not having succeeded in demonstrating sufficiently that it ensures the protection of the privacy of users during the implementation of a new surveillance system which will use facial recognition technology.

The Companhia do Metropolitano de São Paulo (METRO) uses a video surveillance system that includes 2,200 cameras. It is to be replaced by 5,200 centrally controlled high definition digital cameras. The platform, which will scan the faces of 4 million passengers a day, is expected to improve transport operations but also help the authorities find wanted criminals through integration with the police database.

The consumer protection association notes that METRO has not produced a report on the impact associated with the use of facial recognition technology, nor studies demonstrating the security of the databases to be used for the implementation implementation of the new monitoring system. In addition, METRO has not developed data protection policies specifically aimed at children and adolescents, who benefit from special constitutional protection. The company also did not produce a financial impact study in the event of data leaks.

“The framework of the future general data protection regulations was the model used for this project, which will not use a database containing personal information nor will it record personal information, the priority being the security of passengers of METRO ”, defends the transport company. When you link the facial recognition system to a police database, you just have to wonder what miracle is possible.

Last Wednesday, Boston City Council voted to ban city officials from using facial recognition, making it the second largest city in the world after San Francisco in the west to make the decision. In Europe the debate remains open. European authorities give themselves between 3 to 5 years to decide. In France, if experiments take place, eagerness is no longer required, except in Nice and at airports.

Source: www.zdnet.fr

Rate article