Headline November 22 2019/ '' ' *FACIAL RECOGNITION FACTOR ' ''



FACIAL RECOGNITION'S WIDENING reach is stirring up growing backlash. Facial recognition is raising serious concerns in the United States - on the political right as well as the left.

This year in Detroit, crews working for the city's public housing authority cut down a row of bushy trees that had shaded the entryways to two public housing units known as Sheridan I and II.

Their aim : to give newly installed security cameras an unobstructed view of the hulking, gray edifices, so round-the-clock video footage could be made available to the Detroit Police Department as its new facial recognition software whenever the Detroit Public Housing Commission files a police report,

''I think that police department won't make frivolous claims based solely on technology,'' said Sandra Henriquez, the commission's executive director. She added, ''I think that they will use the technology as one tool that they use in bringing people into the criminal justice system.''

The Chinese government's use of vast, secret system of advanced facial recognition technology to track and control its Ughur Muslim minority has set off international outrage. It has also revealed how functional the technology has become.

TO REASONABLE CRITICS the widening reach of facial recognition software, any future assurances on balanced perspective on use, are likely to ring very hollow.

As the software improves, and as the price drops, the technology is becoming ubiquitous - on wearable police cameras, in private home security systems and at sporting events. Landlords are considering the technology as a replacement for the tenants' key fobs, a visual check-in that could double as a general surveillance system.

But the backlash has already begun. San Francisco, Somerville, Mass,; and Oakland Calif, all banned facial recognition software this year. And Congress is taking a look, worried that an unproven technology will ensnare innocent people while diminishing privacy rights.

''We can't continue to expand the footprint of a technology and the reach of it when there are no guardrails for these emerging technologies to protect civil rights,'' said Representative Ayanna S. Pressly, Democrat of Massachusetts, and a sponsor of the No Biometric Barriers to Housing Act,  which would ban facial recognition systems in federally funded public housing.

It would also require that the Department of Housing and Urban Development send to Congress a detailed report on the software.

The issues go beyond privacy concerns. The use of facial recognition software may be racing ahead of the technology's actual efficacy. Amazon's facial recognition tool incorrectly identified 28 Congress members as other people who have been arrested, according to a 2018 test conducted by the American Civil Liberties Union.

The technology especially struggles to identify people of color and women. according to a paper published last year by researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford University.

Yet are those the people most subject to the technology's early deployment. Detroit is nearly 80 percent African American.

Detroit officials created what it called Project Green Light in 2016 to fight the crime, partnering with the Police Department, businesses and community groups to install camera across the city. Facial recognition software has since been added to the program.

''It feels like a badge of shame to say. 'This is a neighborhood that you shouldn't venture into,'' said Tawana Petty, the director of data justice program for the Detroit Community Technology Project, which opposed Project Green Light. She is also a lifelong Detroit resident who is black.

''It's disheartening that money that could be used for adequate transportation, for affordable water, for adequate infrastructure and schools, is being used for surveillance,'' she said.

''It feels like digital redlining; that people are being relegated to particular neighborhood and identified in particular ways because those camera exist,'' she added.

With respectful dedication to Students, Professors, Teachers, and author Lola Fodulu, and then the world. See Ya all on The World Students Society : wssciw.blogspot.com and Twitter - !E-WOW! - The Ecosystem 2011:

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