Sep 6, 2019

Public split over police use of facial recognition

Photo: David McNew/AFP/Getty Images

A new study suggests Americans trust law enforcement more than advertisers or tech companies to use facial recognition responsibly, though many are skeptical of all three groups.

Why it matters: There is a growing debate over the appropriate use of facial recognition, while few laws exist in the U.S. over how and where the technology can be used. Even some tech companies say it is time for Congress to set some rules.

  • A Pew Research study found 56% of Americans trust law enforcement agencies to make appropriate use of facial recognition and 59% are OK with law enforcement using facial recognition tools to assess security threats in public spaces.
  • By contrast, only about one-third of those surveyed trust technology companies to use facial recognition technology appropriately and a mere 18% trust advertisers with these technologies.

The release of the study comes the same day that 30 new groups have joined Fight for the Future's push to ban law enforcement use of facial recognition.

  • Pew said it conducted a "nationally representative survey" of 4,272 U.S. adults, with polling taking place between June 3 and June 17.

Go deeper: Facial recognition surveillance faces new calls for legal limits

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How AI police surveillance treats people of color

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Advanced surveillance technology is being deployed despite flaws that risk perpetuating racial biases in the criminal justice system.

The big picture: Even with recent improvements in the tech, people of color are more likely to be misidentified by facial recognition software — an error that can have life-changing results. And predictive systems can reinforce biased over-policing of neighborhoods of color.

Go deeperArrowSep 7, 2019

Tech trade groups oppose facial recognition ban

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A coalition of tech companies and trade groups is urging Congress not to pass legislation that would ban government use of facial recognition.

Why it matters: As of now there are no national rules on how governments can or can't use face recognition. Consumer groups have been calling for such a ban, while Microsoft and Amazon have encouraged Congress to regulate, but not ban, government use of the technology.

Go deeperArrowSep 26, 2019

Fooling facial recognition with fashion

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Some designers, researchers and activists are trying to fool facial recognition technologies with fashion.

What’s happening: The protests in Hong Kong have drummed up new interest in anti-surveillance fashion, according to designers Adam Harvey and Scott Urban.

Go deeperArrowSep 7, 2019