Tens of thousands of camcorders are built into New York City, some of which can be used for face recognition.
Here you can cross-reference your face with thousands of other people to find matches that can help you determine who and where you were.
Private companies are using this technology to track shoppers. Police use it to track criminals.
For private sectors, there are new legislation requiring disclosure of facial recognition technology, but some lawmakers and critics say it’s not well underway.
A new city law will come into force later this summer, and private businesses will need to place a sign near the front door to notify customers if they are collecting biometric information.
It can be anything from fingerprints to walking to face recognition. It also prohibits companies from sharing or selling that information.
However, it does not apply to government agencies such as the police.
“It puts New Yorkers at risk of false arrests every day.” Surveillance Technology Albert Fox Khan, who founded the Surveillance Project or STOP, said. “It’s not just a privacy issue of some sort. That match may be the reason someone is pulled to the side of the road.”
Critics say the technology is inaccurate when it comes to identifying young people, the elderly, and people of color.
“It’s worse to distinguish between black and brown faces than someone like me,” Khan said. “The NYPD has used it tens of thousands of times, but they refuse to provide us with information about how their system works.”
Some state legislators are taking the new city law one step further.
They have drafted a bill in New York to ban technology altogether and create a task force on how to use it safely.
“We don’t want to be a police state 24 hours a day, 7 days a week,” said Senator Brad Hoylman. “There are many concerns about accuracy.”
The NYPD said it would not scan the face in real time. When a crime occurs on a camera, they use still images from surveillance videos and perform those images through a database of previously arrested people.
For example, this summer it helped play a match against someone who stole a boy’s scooter in Brooklyn and who quit a $ 4 million jewel robbery in New York City.
“Then the detective has to do a good old-fashioned detective job.” Oleg Chernvavsky, NYPD’s Assistant Secretary of Justice, said.
He said he would never be arrested for facial recognition alone. There are at least two layers in the review that the photo passes through after finding a possible match.
Of all the requests received for facial recognition, the department finds a match in about 25% of cases.
“We are obliged by crime victims to use everything possible to catch the perpetrators,” Chernvavsky said.
The NYPD also states that the facial recognition policy has been in place for 10 years and is published on its website.
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Facial recognition technology: 7 On Your Side Investigate concerns about what information is being collected
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