In US cities, facial recognition is making a comeback. Here's what we know so far

In US cities, facial recognition is making a comeback. Here's what we know so far ...

We''re all being watched once more.

Despite previous attempts to protect citizens'' privacy and hold law enforcement agencies accountable for prejudice, cities in the United States are reintroduced using facial recognition, according to an initial report from Reuters.

On the other hand, Virginia''s earlier prohibition on facial recognition will be reversed this July, allowing police to use it with New Orleans and the state of California anticipated to do the same later this month.

Proponents argue that it''s become more accurate and thus less ethically risky. However, the most popular use-cases surveillance and the punitive measures of police forces raise questions that should be considered.

This is where technology of facial recognition might be more precise.

The reason behind this reversal is the rise in crime rates in New Orleans. In the last two years, killing rates increased by 67%, comparativement to the same level they were the year before. Police say they''ve used every other technique, but they must have facial recognition to make progress.

"Technology is necessary to manage these crimes and to hold individuals accountable," said Shaun Ferguson, the new Orleans police commissioner in a statement urging the city council to repeal the facial recognition ban in 2021.

Around 12 local or state governments in the United States passed legislation to reduce the scope of facial recognition applications. However, increasing research from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has suggested significant improvements in the accuracy of the technology. Additionally, the Department of Homeland Security released a study in April that examined the notion of a lack of equity for the accuracy between race and gender.

"There is a growing interest in policy approaches that address concerns about the technology while ensuring it is used in a concise, accurate and non-discriminatory manner, beneficial to communities," said senior director Jake Parker of the Security Industry Association, which is a lobbying organization.

Clearview AI is quite confident about its facial recognition software.

Sentiments about technology''s morality may fluctuate during the day, especially when money is invested. Motorola Solutions, Idemia, and Clearview AI, each have agreed to make a significant portion of the $124 billion state and local governments allocated for policing every year.

According to Reuters, police expenditure isn''t quite tracked.

Clearview has an extensive incentive to expand its business with police forces this week, as a result of a privacy lawsuit filed this week alleging images it had obtained from social media, claiming that it would not sell its facial recognition system to commercial entities in the United States.

Clearview provides evidence from social media to encourage police to meet up with potential members, and said it is open to "any regulation that helps society get the most benefit from facial recognition technology, while reducing potential limitations."

The future of facial recognition technology

While the consensus of some lawmakers may be shifting, the moral and ethical issue of facial recognition is ongoing. According to a April study, common facial recognition tools did not match Black people correctly in tests, but hasn''t explained how the tests were conducted, nor how their conclusions were made.

As of writing, President Joe Biden''s new National AI Advisory Committee is reviewing facial recognition technology, and last week it started assembling a subgroup to investigate its use in policing. It''s difficult to parse, not only politically, but technologically. However, the fact that its most popular use-cases on smartphones, and law enforcement''s power abuse raises the question of what productive use it might be beyond verifying your identity to Web 2.0 platforms and hardware, or being subject to punitive measures

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