Monday, May 29, 2023

Report: Police Depts Ditching Facial Recognition Technology

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Several police departments are eliminating the use of facial recognition technology due to costs, privacy concerns, and limited resources, Defense One reports.

The Orlando Police Department in Florida halted its facial recognition pilot program this month, citing resources.  

In Somerville, Massachusetts, San Francisco, and Oakland, city officials have banned government use of facial-recognition technology for any purpose because of widespread concern about facial-recognition systems in particular and surveillance technology in general.

“At this time, the city was not able to dedicate the resources to the pilot to enable us to make any noticeable progress toward completing the needed configuration and testing,” Orlando’s city administrative officer and police chief wrote in a letter to city elected leaders explaining the decision to abandon the program.

Jim Burch, president of the National Police Foundation, said police departments need to consider all the costs when deploying facial-recognition programs.

“When you look at the cost of body-worn cameras, we looked at the cost of the hardware,” Burch said. “But we didn’t understand the costs with retention and records requests that would come with it.

“People are looking at the marketing brochures, but I don’t think anyone in law enforcement really knows enough about this . . . to really understand what is the total cost of ownership,” he said.

The NPF will hold a seminar in September on the benefits and challenges of the technology.

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