Facial recognition program mistakes 26 California lawmakers for criminals

When two California lawmakers came together Tuesday to champion a bill that would block police departments from using facial recognition technology in their body cameras, it was personal.

After all, both lawmakers — Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, and Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer, D-Los Angeles — were among the 26 state legislators who were falsely identified as criminals when their portraits were compared to a mugshot database.

Ting, who has co-sponsored Assembly Bill 1215 along with the ACLU, argued that body camera technology was implemented across the state in order to build community trust and police accountability.

“Instead of a tool that is really supposed to build bridges, it now becomes a tool of surveillance,” Ting said at a press conference Tuesday.

BREAKING: New Face Recognition Test Falsely Matches CA Lawmakers with Mugshots Body cams should work for the people, not against us. Watch San Francisco Assemblymember Phil Ting, Assemblymember Reggie Jones-Sawyer, ACLU, CAIR, and Media Justice release new face recognition software test results supporting the urgent need for AB 1215. AB 1215 will ban California law enforcement from adding face and other biometric surveillance technology to officer-worn body cameras. Ask your state senator to support this bill: action.aclu.org/send-message/ca-sen-support-ab1215?ms_aff=CN&initms_aff=CN&ms_chan=fb&initms_chan=fb

Posted by ACLU of Northern California on Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Ting said the fact that his face, and those of 25 other lawmakers, showed up as a positive match by the facial recognition program was a demonstration “about how this software is absolutely not ready for primetime.”



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