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US Police Announce New Facial Recognition Policies

A police chief in Detroit, US has announced new restrictions on the use of facial recognition technology by officers after a pregnant woman was wrongly charged with robbery.

Detroit Police Chief Announces New Facial Recognition Policies
Credits: FOX 2 Detroit

Chief James White said on Wednesday that the technology, which has been controversial due to racial biases, requires stronger oversight and should not be the sole basis for an arrest. The policy changes come after 32-year-old Porcha Woodruff, who was eight months pregnant, was falsely accused of an armed robbery in January based on flawed facial recognition matches.

The charges were eventually dismissed but Woodruff is suing the police department for wrongful arrest. Her case has highlighted concerns that the technology, which analyses images from surveillance cameras, is less accurate for people of colour.

Under the new policies, officers cannot include facial recognition matches in photo lineups shown to victims. Arrest warrants based on the technology will require approval from two captains. Chief White said matches alone are insufficient and other corroborating evidence should confirm a suspect's opportunity and means to commit the alleged crime.

Critics like the ACLU have called for Detroit police to halt the use of facial recognition altogether after Woodruff's case and two other lawsuits over wrongful arrests. While stopping short of an outright ban, White's policy changes aim to prevent the technology from being misused and leading to further false arrests.

The reforms underscore growing doubts about the reliability of facial recognition tools used by law enforcement across the US, particularly for minorities. Several cities have already banned police from using the tech. It remains to be seen whether tighter rules in Detroit will prevent more people from being wrongfully accused.

  • Detroit police chief announced new restrictions on facial recognition technology after a pregnant woman was wrongly charged based on inaccurate matches.

  • New policies require arrest warrants to be approved by two captains if facial recognition is used and ban the tech from being included in photo lineups.

  • The reforms aim to prevent misuse of facial recognition which has led to false arrests, highlighting growing doubts about the tool's reliability, especially for minorities.

Source: AP

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