Facial Recognition Technology Test Falsely Tags 26 Lawmakers As Criminals And Exposes Blatant Racial Bias

“One false match is too many, especially when people’s lives are at stake or their freedom is at stake.”

[Editor’s Note: The short video accompanying this story is very good. Link below. — Mark L. Taylor]

The HuffPot (8/13/19)

In an attempt to show lawmakers how dangerously inaccurate facial recognition technology can be in the hands of police, the American Civil Liberties Union decided to get personal.

On Tuesday, the ACLU’s Northern California branch released its findings from running photos of all 120 California state legislators against a database of 25,000 publicly available mugshots using common facial recognition software. The results were unsettling: the software identified 26 state legislators ― more than one in five ― as criminals. And a disproportionate number of those lawmakers were people of color.

The ACLU supports California legislation to ban such technology from being used on police body cameras. Though no police departments in the state do so, the bill’s author, Assemblyman Phil Ting (D), wants to get ahead of the issue.

At a press conference with ACLU officials on Tuesday, he said the test involving the lawmaker faces was conducted “as a demonstration about how this software is absolutely not ready for primetime.”

He added, “While we can laugh about it as legislators, it’s no laughing matter if you are an individual who’s trying to get a job, if you’re an individual trying to get a home, if you get falsely accused of an arrest.” …

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Fashion Line Successfully Stymies Intrusive Surveillance Cameras

Adversarial Fashion garments are covered in license plates, aimed at bamboozling a device’s databases.

By AlexHern
The Guardian (8/14/19)

Automatic license plate readers, which use networked surveillance cameras and simple image recognition to track the movements of cars around a city, may have met their match, in the form of a T-shirt. Or a dress. Or a hoodie.

The anti-surveillance garments were revealed at the DefCon cybersecurity conference in Las Vegas on Saturday by the hacker and fashion designer Kate Rose, who presented the inaugural collection of her Adversarial Fashion line.

Rose credits a conversation with a friend, the Electronic Frontier Foundation researcher Dave Maass, for inspiring the project: “He mentioned that the readers themselves are not very good,” she said. “They already read in things like picket fences and other junk. I thought that if they’re fooled by a fence, then maybe I could take a crack at it.”

To human eyes, Rose’s fourth amendment T-shirt contains the words of the fourth amendment to the US constitution in bold yellow letters. The amendment, which protects Americans from “unreasonable searches and seizures”, has been an important defense against many forms of government surveillance: in 2012, for instance, the US supreme court ruled that it prevented police departments from hiding GPS trackers on cars without a warrant. …

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