Facing the reality of Facial Recognition Technology, there will soon come a time where all you need to say is, “Remember summer 2020?” and a plethora of thoughts, images, ideas, and emotions will surface to mind. For some it might be the paralyzed state of the world; for others it might be the panic of a pandemic. Some may associate that time with their newfound self-revelations and DIY projects while others began to accept the things they could not change or control. Whatever side you personally landed on, I think we could all agree that 2020 also brought up what we all already knew; RACISM is still alive and well. So, you are probably wondering “Hey where is that cyber security blog post I read twice a month?”. Fret not thy loyal reader. Life is a series of zigzag lines, and they all connect…. eventually!
Perhaps parallel to the pandemic the greatest takeaway was policing injustice, especially on marginalized people and communities. Influencers, organizers, and political leaders from all four corners of the world resurrected individual and collective moments that shed light on the need for social reform in various sectors. However, from city to city the protagonist seemed to always be policing reform and now with the use of facial recognition technology; lawmakers are seeking to remove this from the fabric of law enforcement.
Why does this matter? Because an algorithm should not be able to decide if someone is guilty of a crime or the casualty of the “wrong place wrong time” dilemma. Additionally, placing naturally occurring life experiences in the hands of an artificial machine collecting data via facial biometric features could potentially lead us down a toxic inescapable path.
According to an article written by Tonya Riley in Cyberscoop which states, “The Facial Recognition and Biometric Technology Moratorium Act, reintroduced in June by Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), would fully ban the use of facial recognition and biometric technology by federal agencies, barring a lift by Congress. It would also block funding to state and local law enforcement who do not cease use of the tech. The bill would allow cities and states to keep and make their own laws. More than 40 privacy and civil liberties groups have thrown their weight on the Hill and organizing power behind the Biometric Technology Moratorium Act, saying that cases in which law enforcement use of facial recognition has violated American’s privacy and legal rights have worsened.”
Law enforcement used this technology shortly after the death of George Floyd to identify protestors. This same technology was also used after the insurrection at the capital. There have been at least three known instances of black men who were arrested due to a false positive facial recognition match. History has shown us repeatedly that one person is accused of doing the crime while others are accused of “fitting the description”.
“Law enforcement agencies and tech companies have weaponized facial recognition technology for too long, repeatedly putting Black people’s safety and our civil rights in harm’s way,” Jade Magnus Ogunnaike, senior campaigns director at Color of Change, a racial justice organization, told CyberScoop. “The work to ban facial recognition technology is an urgent racial justice issue, and we call on members of Congress to support this legislation and bring the bill to the floor for a full vote.”
Why is this critical? Cyber attacks have been perpetual and persistent in nature. Many of us have ignored the call to truly protect and preserve our identities and businesses. Cyber attacks are complicated dimensions in and of themselves. But a life hack? Well, that is next level. I am not sure about you but the idea that a biometric device can track someone, accuse them of committing a crime, detain them and then say “Oops, maybe the machine was wrong” is a frightening life hack reality. Perhaps you may not have personally experienced discrimination, but many people have, and using unregulated technology systems accompanied by maximum consequences with minimum accountability appears to do more harm than good for our society.
Before we bid you farewell though, please consider the following:
1) Have I taken the necessary steps to protect my identity or business online?
2) Am I being deliberate about how I use my “internet residency”?
3) If I were to encounter any form of cyber threat or attack, would I know what to do?
Dear friends, you are not alone! We have experts who can support you. At Nine Mile we believe prevention is the best protection. We can help and have the tools and know-how to support you.
Contact us today for further information.
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