In May, though, a Georgetown University study found the city used facial recognition software, in conjunction with Project Green Light cameras, to make arrests. “No longer is video surveillance limited to what happens,” the study found,“it may now identify who is going where, doing what, at any point in time. ”The study found live cameras were tracking the movements of tenants in apartment buildings and even patients coming and going from a medical center, which Detroit Police Chief James Craig denied in an interview with Stateline.
But civil liberties activists worry that vulnerable populations such as residents of public housing or rent-stabilized apartments are at risk for law enforcement overreach. “This is a very dangerous technology,” said Reema Singh Guliani, senior legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union. “Facial recognition is different from other technologies.
It’s used to verify personal identity — the FBI, for example, has access to 412 million facial images. “Our industry certainly needs to do a better job of helping educate the public how the technology works and how it’s used,” said Jake Parker, senior director of government relations for the Security Industry Association, a trade association based in Silver Spring, Maryland. “Any technology has the potential to be misused,” Parker said. “But in the United States, we have a number of constitutional protections that limit what the government can do.
She said the cameras themselves are not equipped with facial recognition software. “People seem to conflate the issue,” Henriquez said. “I have video surveillance equipment.
A positive match from facial recognition software is not sufficient to charge a suspect with a crime, Craig said. “Never in my wildest dreams would I have guessed that using facial recognition would have garnered such a vitriolic response,” he said.