The law and facial recognition software

| Mar 16, 2018 | Blog |

Most people are familiar with Facebook’s facial recognition software. When a friend uploads a picture, it’s common for Facebook to ask its users: is this you? The user gets to decide if they are “tagged,” but it’s still worth noting that a computer just identified a human individual from a picture. Some companies are taking facial recognition software to the real world. The CaliBurger chain in California has used it to let customers pay via their loyalty accounts. All they have to do is “sign in” by looking at a kiosk.

While it’s fun to play with new technology, there are also civil rights concerns. Half of Americans are already in a national security database. It’s like a police lineup to identify suspects, available at the click of a mouse. The photographs come from a variety of resources, including South Carolina driver’s licenses.

When does it go too far?

As an article in the Washington Examiner discusses (linked above), there is question if the database puts individual rights at risk. Authoritarian states like China and Dubai have used similar database to suppress free speech, for example.

Civil rights are a cornerstone of the Constitution, specifically the Fourth Amendment and the right to privacy from unreasonable searches. How police gather evidence is central to any criminal case and, unfortunately, they often oversteps their bounds. While facial recognition’s role is relatively new to police work, there are many questions about how suspects are identified and how evidence is used against them.

Protecting individual liberty

Whether you’ve been incorrectly identified at the scene of a crime or if your rights were infringed by an illegal search, there are legal defenses against criminal accusations. It’s important to review every aspect of criminal charges to make sure that law enforcement is respecting individual rights in the course of their job. A criminal defense attorney can explain individual rights in detail, including how South Carolina courts view the use of technology in relation to privacy rights.