New York City is using facial-recognition cameras at bridge and tunnel toll plazas and putting images in databases in an attempt to catch suspected criminals, the New York Post is reporting.
The cameras had been reading license plates in an attempt to crack down on those breaking the law. But New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the system is now moving to facial-recognition.
"When it reads that license plate, it reads it for scofflaws … (but) the toll is almost the least significant contribution that this electronic equipment can actually perform," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
"We are now moving to facial-recognition technology, which takes it to a whole new level, where it can see the face of the person in the car and run that technology against databases.
"Because many times a person will turn their head when they see a security camera, so they are now experimenting with technology that just identifies a person by their ear, believe it or not," he continued.
Right now, the system is being tested at the RFK/Triborough Bridge, Queens Midtown Tunnel and Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel. But it will be expanded to include area airports and at least two more bridges in the city, the Post reported, citing information to Cuomo's office.
"It’s a phenomenal security device," Cuomo said.
But the facial-recognition system is under attack by some who say it is unreliable, the newspaper said.
"Facial-recognition software is notoriously inaccurate when it comes to identifying people of color, women and children, leading to the possibility of people being mistakenly arrested or erroneously monitored," New York Civil Liberties Union Executive Director Donna Lieberman said.
And in May, the American Civil Liberties Union asked Amazon to stop marketing a facial-recognition tool to police, saying law enforcement agencies could use the technology to "easily build a system to automate the identification and tracking of anyone."
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