Imagine a world where, as you drive into — or even walk through — New York City, your face is scanned and compared to a list of suspected terrorists or other serious criminals. Would this make you feel safe?
Now, imagine that the technology is error-prone, and may misidentify innocent people as suspects. What about now?
These are not rhetorical questions. New York is in the early stages of acquiring state-of-the-art face recognition technology to scan the faces of all drivers commuting between the boroughs of New York City.
The New York Police Department is already using face recognition to investigate crimes, and has done so since 2011. As of last year, its facial identification unit had conducted “more than 8,500 facial recognition investigations, with over 3,000 possible matches, and approximately 2,000 arrests,” according to a former NYPD official who helped establish the unit.