The New York Police Department (NYPD) was captured using facial recognition technology to hunt down Black Lives Matter activists. The police department tried to raid the apartment of a prominent Black Lives Matter protester and founder of Warriors in the Garden, Derrick Ingram, with dozens of officers and police dogs in Hell's Kitchen last week.
The 28-year-old allegedly shouted into an officer's ear with a megaphone during a protest against police brutality in June, which the NYPD is constituting as an assault as the department claims it caused an officer to lose his hearing temporarily. More than 50 officers surrounded his apartment after shutting down the street and urging him to voluntarily surrender as NYPD helicopters hovered overhead.
In a video footage shared on YouTube by FreedomNewsTV, an officer can be seen outside Ingram's apartment building holding an "Information Lead Report" from the NYPD's Facial Identification Section along with a photo of Ingram taken from his social media account.
Technology is 'Flawed,' Especially for People of Color
The department's Facial Identification Section uses facial recognition software to identify possible suspects in thousands of cases each year. The software draws on a massive internal database of mugshots to generate possible matches, which are then analyzed by investigators for reliability, according to the department.
After a BuzzFeed investigation revealed that the NYPD was a frequent user of Clearview, a controversial facial recognition firm that collects photos of Americans without their consent the police department released their first set of public guidelines on its usage of the technology.
However, critics of NYPD's use of facial recognition technology though were quick to say the technology is flawed, inaccurate, and does not always work, especially on people with darker skin and called for a ban citing "higher error rates for New Yorkers of color, the routine alteration of images in photoshop, and the use of facial recognition for low-level offenses."
'Dangerous' Surveillance Tool
The Surveillance Technology Oversight Project (STOP), a New York-based privacy group, also swiftly condemned NYPD's usage of the technology to arrest Ingram."Facial recognition surveillance of protests is a threat to both protesters and democracy itself," said Surveillance Technology Oversight Project Executive Director Albert Fox Cahn. "The NYPD claimed that they need this biased and broken technology to protect us from violent crime, but now they are using it to suppress dissent."
"No police department can be trusted with a surveillance tool this dangerous, but especially not the NYPD," Cahn added. "The NYPD raid on Ingram drew international condemnation, but their use of facial recognition is truly indefensible. If the NYPD already used this technology to track one protest leader, how many others are in police crosshairs?".