Get updates from Through Catholic Lenses delivered straight to your inbox The ACLU recently ran congresspersons’ faces against a database of 25,000 mugshots using Amazon’s facial recognition software and discovered some matches. In a test the ACLU recently conducted of the facial recognition tool, called “Rekognition,” the software incorrectly matched 28 members of Congress, identifying them as other people who have been arrested for a crime.

The members of Congress who were falsely matched with the mugshot database we used in the test include Republicans and Democrats, men and women, and legislators of all ages, from all across the country. Now, I know someone is thinking of a joke about politicians’ criminal activity.

That isn’t the point! The danger is that such computer face recognition in the hands of law enforcement makes people guilty until proven innocent.

The same report points to some of these concerns: If law enforcement is using Amazon Rekognition, it’s not hard to imagine a police officer getting a “match” indicating that a person has a previous concealed-weapon arrest, biasing the officer before an encounter even begins. Or an individual getting a knock on the door from law enforcement, and being questioned or having their home searched, based on a false identification.

An identification — whether accurate or not — could cost people their freedom or even their lives. […] Matching people against arrest photos is not a hypothetical exercise. Read more from…

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