Rights Groups Launch Campaign Against Facial Recognition Tech

To Describe An Incident That Unfolded Last August Which Amnesty Attributes To A Rights Violation With The Help Of Facial Recognition.

Rights Groups Launch Campaign Against Facial Recognition Tech
By Umer Jamshaid

A group of prominent human and civil rights groups on Tuesday launched a campaign calling to ban the development and use of facial recognition technology by the New York Police Department (NYPD) arguing it risks violating minority groups rights to privacy and peaceful assembly. The Ban the Scan campaign brings together Amnesty Interantional, AI for the People, the Surveillance Technologies Oversight Project, and other organizations to oppose and resist the deployment of sophisticated facial recognition technology in law enforcement.

“Facial recognition risks being weaponized by law enforcement against marginalized communities around the world. From New Delhi to New York, this invasive technology turns our identities against us and undermines human rights,” Matt Mahmoudi, AI and Human Rights Researcher at Amnesty International said in a statement announcing the campaign. Amnesty argues the technology exacerbates systemic racism as it could impact black and brown New Yorkers disproportionately, putting them at risk of being misidentified and pursued for their activism. “Facial recognition is biased, broken, and antithetical to democracy. For years, the NYPD has used facial recognition to track tens of thousands of New Yorkers, putting New Yorkers of colour at risk of false arrest and police violence. Banning facial recognition won’t just protect civil rights: it’s a matter of life and death,” Albert Fox Cahn, Surveillance Technology Oversight Project Executive Director at the Urban Justice Centre, said.

The statement goes on to describe an incident that unfolded last August which Amnesty attributes to a rights violation with the help of facial recognition. NYPD officers tried to force their way into the apartment of black activist Derrick Ingram, accusing him of allegedly assaulting a policeman during Black Lives Matter protests last summer. One officer held a document titled “Facial Identification Section Informational Lead Report.” Dozens of officers who crowded Ingram’s building and activated a helicopter and drones. They left after Ingram began live-streaming the siege and a protest began outside the building. After the incident, officers hung portraits of Ingram’s face in the neighborhood, taken from his social media accounts without his consent.

US cities such as Boston, Portland and San Francisco, have banned the use of facial technology by law enforcement, but the NYPD has only ramped up its investment into and development of the technology on the back of the Black Lives Matter protests last year, the report claimed. Tech giants Google and Amazon last year announced they would stop cooperating with law enforcement and refrain from selling facial recognition technology because it risks such rights violations. The Ban the Scan campaign seeks to create a network where users and activists can report incidents of violations using this technology, collectively pressure authorities to curb its use and inform the public of areas where the technology is deployed. Initially piloted in New York City, the campaign plans to expand worldwide and begin a multinational drive against facial recognition violations.

This news was originally published at Urdu Point