Again? No, you are not experiencing a case of déjà vu. The ACLU has actually conducted another facial recognition test like the one they did last year on Congress. This time they put the technology to use on California lawmakers, and it identified 26 of them as criminals.
The results of the experiment were similar to last year's, which identified 28 members of the US Congress as criminals. In both studies, the ALCU contends that the majority of misidentifications involved people of color.
"[The experiment] reinforces the fact that facial recognition software is not ready for prime time – let alone for use in body cameras worn by law enforcement," said assembly member Phil Ting said in a press conference. Ting was one of the lawmakers marked as a criminal.
"While we can laugh about it as legislators, it's no laughing matter if you're an individual trying to get a job, trying to get a home," he continued. "If you're falsely accused, what happens? It impacts your ability to get a job, to get housing. There are real people that this can impact."
The repeated test is being used to drum up publicity and support for California assembly bill 1215. Ting and the Northern California ALCU co-sponsored AB 1215, also called The Body Camera Accountability Act. The proposed legislation would make facial recognition, and biometric surveillance in police body cams unlawful in California. The bill's PR campaign slogan is "One false match is one too many."
The ACLU is vehemently opposed to the technology, calling it a "disaster for communities and their civil rights."
"The spread of facial recognition body cameras in California neighborhoods would be a massive public safety hazard," said ACLU attorney Matt Cagle. "Even if this technology was accurate, which it is not, face recognition-enabled body cameras would facilitate massive violations of Californians' civil rights."
Ting first introduced AB 1215 to the assembly back in February. The state legislature approved it in May. The California Senate is slated to put it to a vote sometime in the next few weeks.