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Face Value #23

  • Wrongful accusations
  • China keeping tabs
  • Biometrics in Africa
  • Privacy breach in the UK
Published every Thursday

New York Times

Wrongfully Accused by an Algorithm

In what may be the first known case of its kind, a faulty facial recognition match led to a Michigan man’s arrest for a crime he did not commit.

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The Verge

What a machine learning tool that turns Obama white can (and can’t) tell us about AI bias

It’s a startling image that illustrates the deep-rooted biases of AI research. Input a low-resolution picture of Barack Obama, the first black president of the United States, into an algorithm designed to generate depixelated faces, and the output is a white man.

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Facial recognition to ‘predict criminals’ sparks row over AI bias

A US university’s claim it can use facial recognition to “predict criminality” has renewed debate over racial bias in technology.

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The Guardian

UK’s facial recognition technology ‘breaches privacy rights’

South Wales police accused of using system with ‘racial bias’ that breaks data protection law.

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Editor’s Note:

South Wales police has been using facial recognition technology for a while now. Owen Bowcott reports that as many as 500,000 faces might have been scanned, breaching privacy laws in the UK.

The Diplomat

China’s Surveillance Technology Is Keeping Tabs on Populations Around the World

Exports of Chinese AI technology give Beijing a foothold in foreign security systems.

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NBC News

Big Tech juggles ethical pledges on facial recognition with corporate interests

Over the course of four days last week, three of America’s largest technology companies — IBM, Amazon and Microsoft — announced sweeping restrictions on their sale of facial recognition tools and called for federal regulation amid protests across the United States against police violence and racial profiling.

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Facial recognition in Lockport schools: ‘Best technology in the world’ or ‘not proven to work?’

The New York Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit Monday against the state education department over the new security system in Lockport schools, which recognizes two things: guns and faces. WBFO’s Kyle Mackie reports on how the system works and how the same technology used by Scotland Yard and INTERPOL ended up in a school district in Niagara County.

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Editor’s Note:

Earlier this year, Lockport became the first public school district in New York state and one of the first in the US to start using facial recognition technology. Kyle S. Mackie discusses the debate on whether the implementation of the technology has been worth it.

The Africa Report

Biometric identification: a coveted African market

In a booming sector, international giants are winning most of the contracts related to digital and facial recognition. Pending the emergence of an African challenger.

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Opinion | The futile withdrawal of facial recognition software by Big Tech

According to a letter to US legislators from IBM’s chief executive officer Arvind Krishna, the company is to abandon general purpose and analysis software for facial recognition. His letter stated that his firm does “not condone uses of any technology…. for mass surveillance, racial profiling, violations of basic human rights and freedoms….” Amazon has issued a one-year ban on police departments using Rekognition, its facial search technology. And Microsoft is waiting for new legislation to be adopted before selling its facial recognition technology to law enforcement organizations.

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Electronic Frontier Foundation

Victory! Boston Bans Government Use of Face Surveillance

The push to minimize the government’s power to track and spy on people with surveillance technology has picked up steam as the Black-led movement against racism and police brutality continues to push politicians to reconsider the role policing plays in our lives. Thanks to the tireless efforts of activists and organizations in Massachusetts and around the country, including EFF, this week Boston joins the ranks of cities that have banned government use of face surveillance.

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Editor’s Note:

Boston has become the 10th city in the US to ban the use of facial recognition technology. Matthew Guariglia analyzes the decision and links it to the Black Lives Matter movement.