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Government use of face-recognition technology marches on, despite problems

On Behalf of | Dec 3, 2021 | Criminal Defense

Biometric data has become increasingly important in American society. Many cellphones, tablets and computers now include security protocols that people can unlock with thumbprints or with facial recognition software. Many government agencies also rely on biometric information to do their work. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, for example, collects the biometric information of legal immigrants.

Facial recognition software has started to become important for law enforcement organizations and federal government agencies. They can use a facial recognition software program to help them track the movements of suspected terrorists or place someone at the scene of a criminal act.

Many government organizations have indicated in recent reports that they intend to increase their use of facial recognition software. In some cases, this technology will play a role in the prosecution of people accused of either state or federal crimes. Unfortunately, there are numerous problems with how this technology works and its use in criminal proceedings. 

Facial recognition software is far from finished technology

Science and technology are in a constant state of development, so most technological advances can always improve. Facial recognition software isn’t just open to improvements. It is still in its infancy. Currently, people are able to apply makeup or wear jewelry that tricks facial recognition software. Even when people don’t try to game the system, facial recognition software has significant limitations.

These programs work by measuring and mapping people’s faces to find unique identifiers. However, anything from shadows to distorted facial expressions can impact the accuracy of software-based facial recognition. These programs can both falsely exclude potential suspects and inaccurately identify someone. Trying to make a positive identification of someone based solely on facial features could mean that there are false identifications and even false convictions taking place.

The use of facial recognition software could affect your criminal defense

Police officers are federal agencies using facial recognition software to connect you to a crime is far from conclusive evidence. Especially in situations where facial recognition technology provides the only evidence linking you to the crime, you may be able to use the many failures of this technology as part of your criminal defense strategy.

Understanding how prosecutors prove criminal charges can help you plan to fight back and prove your innocence.

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